Today I was having my typical Sunday lunch with my parents when something magical happened. We engaged in our typical conversation of who died, who got married, and did you know so and so is single (The grandparent itch is kicking in). Out of the blue my mom asked, “What happened with this Rand Paul guy?”
I was taken aback. Politics is not one of my mom’s interests and unless it’s election season, it doesn’t enter her world.
I gave her a rundown on what led to the filibuster: Drones, Holder’s response, and the deaths of Anwar al-Awlaki and son. I explained that Rand Paul was appalled the President of The United States and his top legal advisor could imagine scenarios where constitutionally guaranteed rights could be suspended. Rand wanted to know whether the Obama administration could target American citizens for execution without charge, trial, or sentencing?
For the first time I saw the light come on. She finally understood the question: If we aren’t bound by our laws, what are we bound by?
She was stunned and asked me, “How do Americans not know about this?”
I told her THAT was Rand Paul’s point.
How can Americans not see what is done to their rights? I went on to explain the significance of the filibuster. How for one day, Americans from all sides of the ideological spectrum, united behind our shared belief of IRONCLAD rights. I told her how Rand Paul stood for 13 hours without being able to sit, eat, or go to the restroom. I did my best to try to recreate the moment.
It was a modern-day political David vs. Goliath. One principled man fought back against Republican power, a silent and complicit Democrat party, and a power-hungry executive branch.
It was when I likened the day’s events to the movie, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, that the picture became clear. She said, “I know that movie. It was your grandfather’s favorite!”
I told her how Senator Mark Kirk, recovering from a stroke and wishing he had the physical ability to join Paul, limped to the Senate floor to bring him an apple and a thermos of tea just like in the movie.
At that moment, in a crowded public restaurant, my apolitical mother’s eyes filled with tears. She was touched. They were tears of admiration, joy, and pride.
For the first time, she understood the significance of what those men did when they sent a Declaration of Independence to King George. It was a rejection of oppression and a commitment to liberty. Our founding ideals finally resonated with her soul. It had never crossed her mind whether governments should or shouldn’t be able to kill their own citizens, she like so many, considered that a given. Not a possibility in modern life. Rand Paul’s stand showed her how dangerous complacency can be.
Today she woke up. She was proud she lived in a nation founded by and committed to principle. She was proud there are still people in Washington who believe in those principles. Lastly, she was proud that when she says, “I’m an American” it’s not just a geographic identifier, but a statement of liberty.
At 1:27 pm EST my mother donated to Senator Rand Paul.
A two-time Obama voting Democrat social worker stands with Rand.
She may not be ready for Rothbard, but a seed of libertarianism has been planted…