“Are we so afraid of terrorists that we are willing to throw away our rights and our freedoms?” Rand Paul
While the power of social media is indeed becoming a potent political and activist force that is acutely threatening the information monopoly of mainstream media, the power of Twitter was vividly visible last night during Senator Rand Paul's incredible nearly 13 hour filibuster of the CIA Brennan nomination over the use of drones to murder American citizens on US soil. I wasn't the only person glued to Twitter last night and the hashtag #StandwithRand, and it seemed like everybody who cares about politics and civil liberties was glued to Twitter for many, many hours. Last night became a defining moment in the power of social media.
While I'm of the opinion that the Republicans who showed up (late) to Stand With Rand were mostly frauds politicizing the event for their own political benefit because most of them did in fact vote for NDAA, indefinite detention, the Patriot Act and other horrors, what is most fascinating is the liberal response that clearly groaned disappointment with the Democrats.
I do, however, give much deserved credit to Republican Senator Mike Lee and Democrat Senator Ron Wyden who stood with Rand early because they've mostly been at the forefront in the battle for civil liberties and have decent voting records to prove it.
For whatever reasons, Rand Paul made the Republicans look good last night and many liberals and Democrats were utterly appalled and shocked that only one Democrat had the courage and conviction to Stand With Rand.
Glenn Greenwald, a liberal anti-war icon of civil liberties and a constitutional attorney tweeted:
Glenn Greenwald @ggreenwald "Fascinating day: Tea Party Senator filibusters torture-supporting CIA nominee over civil liberties, while Dem establishment mocks & fumes"Liberal leaning and very popular pundit/commedian Jon Stewart praised Rand Paul.
JON STEWART: Rand Paul Used The Filibuster 'The Way It's Meant To Be Used'
"The Daily Show"'s Jon Stewart opened his show Wednesday night by praising Sen. Rand Paul, who was at airtime still in the midst of a nearly 13-hour filibuster of John Brennan's nomination as CIA Director.
It's significant coming from Stewart, the left-leaning host of "The Daily Show" who has recently been on a crusade against what he sees as hypocritical policies from the Obama administration on its targeted killings through drone strikes.
"I can't say that I agree with Rand Paul about everything, but as issues go, drone oversight is certainly one worth kicking up a fuss for," Stewart said.
Cenk Uygur @cenkuygur Courageous effort by Rand Paul today. He made believers out of some people and shined a light into the darkness. #StandWithRandIf anything, liberals, progressives and Democrats have traditionally claimed and held the moral high ground on civil liberties. It's understandable that many astute and well meaning Democrats are literally sick over the unwillingness of congressional Democrats to oppose drone murders. Moreover, to bear witness to Obama and his administration effectively out-Bushing the Bush gang on horrifying civil liberties abuses is unspeakable as well as unbearable for civil liberty minded Democrats.
Now 15 Senators have joined Rand Paul in his #filibuster in its 13th hour.Only one Democrat. Progressive Dems, where are you? #StandWithRand
If anything, the big winners land night were Rand Paul, Senators Wyden and Lee, and civil libertarians of all political stripes who absolutely know how to sift through the Republican and Democrat garbage pile of hallow and shallow talking points to get to the truth. And that's precisely what happened last night: the truth was courageously distilled to its absolute and raw essence by the people and truth tellers.
In an age of vanishing civil liberties and increasing government oppression, that's not insignificant. It's a monumental leap!
Meanwhile, Senator Rand Paul is doing his part to fire up the smoldering embers of liberty and that's a very good thing.