After 10 1/2 hours Rand Paul yielded the floor of the Senate. While some debate whether or not it was a true filibuster, we can all agree it was a very long speech about a very important topic.
Rand’s oration was about the renewal of the Patriot Act. Paul is against bulk collection of Americans’ phone records and data. The Patriot Act is set to expire June 1st. Paul’s stance is that the bulk collection of data is unconstitutional and that it prevents law enforcement from focusing on real threats since they are so focused on bulk data collection. He said on CNN on the 19th of May–and I am paraphrasing–“I want probable cause, a warrant, and a name on the warrant, not just Verizon.”
While not everyone in his party fully agrees with him, Senator Ted Cruz got up to speak during Paul’s oration. Cruz supports the USA Freedom Act, which would require a federal judge to issue a warrant before data and phone records could be collected by the federal government. Cruz agrees, though, that this issue need to be brought to light and that there needs to be more discussion about it.
This is an issue that hits close to home and many Americans agree with Senator Paul. He used his filibuster as promotion for his campaign and to sell merchandise. #StandwithRand was trending on social media, along with #PatriotAct. All over social media you could find photos of supporters next to their TV with the hashtag #StandwithRand, including Ron Paul.
It’s only been a day since his “filibuster,” but he has done a brilliant bit of marketing for himself and this issue. It’s said that the Patriot Act will be up for a vote before Memorial Day. We’ll see what happens when it does. I wonder if his oration will have made a difference.