For more than two years, Congress has been mostly absent in this very important debate. It is far too complicated to fit into easy partisan sound bites.
Mr. Paul changed that. Good for him.
The answers aren’t easy. Would we sacrifice one life to save thousands, even if that person deserved the same constitutional protections the rest of we Americans have? Would all other options have to be ruled out first? What if the president is wrong? Where does the slippery slope begin and where will it end?
This is the debate the country had about the Patriot Act, but mostly too late, after post-Sept. 11 fears led our leaders to rush to limit civil rights to protect us from terrorists. It’s the debate we should be having about the drone technology, which changes the battlefield and the ethics surrounding the use of deadly force.
The key here isn’t whether Mr. Paul and his supporters are right, or whether hawks like Mr. McCain are, it’s about forcing the debate and bringing it into the American consciousness. Mr. Paul did that.
At the same time, he brought attention to how truly broken the Senate is by using an old-school filibuster. Just a day before Mr. Paul’s filibuster, the Senate blocked yet another of Mr. Obama’s judicial appointments. We don’t know why. We don’t know who. Nobody stood. Nobody talked.
Maybe that’s why Mr. McCain was so upset on Thursday: Mr. Paul called out his own party for its failure to have the courage of its convictions.
The truth hurts.
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