Filibuster

I realize my last post may have been a bit disjointed. I felt moved by the events and the need to post something.

As I sit here, continuing to watch this process continue in the Senate, I am still amazed at this process. A process that I would not be nearly as appreciative of if I had not watched and learned from the episode of The West Wing, “The Stackhouse Filibuster”. This episode is centered around a filibuster. It takes the White House staff a while to figure out why this man is standing up there reading from cookbooks and rules of games. Once they do, they line up suppporters to ask him relevant questions, allowing him to take breaks from talking without having to yield the floor.

As I sit here, listening to Senator after Senator, including my own Senator Sherrod Brown (whom I tweeted my thanks to), standing up, telling stories, taking their time getting to their question. Sometimes multiple questions. Questions that allow Senator Chris Murphy not only a break from talking while still holding the floor, but to go into detail about what this bill is about. It is a debate. It is a discussion, in detail, about what the issue is right now. It is giving these amazing people the chance to say over and over in many different ways what they are trying to do on the Senate floor.

I wish I lived closer so I could go to the gallery and watch this in person. That is thanks, in large part, to The West Wing. Because of that television show, I know what these men and women are doing. I know why they are telling long stories before asking what seem like redundant questions. It is a beautiful example of the impact that popular culture has on our lives. It is a beautiful example of why I am here at Bowling Green State University working on a master’s degree in Popular Culture. It is why I am looking closely at The X-Men comic books.

In case you have not been watching the Livestream, which is simply showing what is happening on the Senate floor with no commentary or spin, the purpose of this is to close the Federal loophole that allows people on the terrorist watch list to buy guns anywhere other than a gun store. This is not about banning any type of gun. It is not about taking guns away from anyone. It is about making it harder for people that we do not want having guns to legally get their hands on them.

Will it stop all the gun violence? No. Will it save lives? Yes. It will not affect anyone who has done nothing wrong in the eyes of the law. We already restrict who is allowed to purchase a gun legally. They simply want people who are not allowed to get on an airplane because of possible terrorist action to not be allowed to legally buy guns.

Contact your Senators. Contact your Representatives. Tell them that this loophole needs to be closed. Please. It is one step we can take toward reducing the chance of the massacre in Orlando from happening again. It is one step we can take toward reducing the chance of any innocent lives being taken. Even one.

“This is not a moment, it’s the movement…” Join the movement. Tell your Senators and Representatives that you simply want to keep guns out of the hands of people that want to do harm to other human beings. Tell them that you never want to wake up to find out that 49 innocent people were gunned down in a nightclub earlier that morning or that children were gunned down in their elementary school or that college students and faculty and staff have been slaughtered in their classrooms.

Rise up. Make your voice heard.

Effect of Popular Culture: The West Wing

At this moment, there is a filibuster happening in the U.S. Senate. Click here to watch it while you do whatever. Thank you @Lin_Manuel for sharing the link! This filibuster is in response to the senseless violence that happened this Sunday morning in Orlando.

I’m writing this post for two reasons: to make people aware that this is happening and to watch it; to share how popular culture has impacted me in regards to this particular action in Congress.

I’ve done the first, now for the second.


My parents watched The West Wing. I watched The West Wing. I have watched the entire series multiple times. I have learned so much about government from this television series. When given the opportunity to give a presentation about a celebrity and their influence on politics and the government in my HS government class, I told my group we were going to focus on Martin Sheen.

But that’s beside the point. There was an episode, “The Stackhouse Filibuster”. When the current filibuster is over, go watch it. It does not simply show a filibuster as part of the plot, it explains the rules of a filibuster and how the person leading the filibuster can be aided by colleagues to keep it going.

Honestly, that is why I am watching and enjoying it right now. I’m seeing these things actually happen in our Senate. Right now. Colleagues are asking long, multi-part questions to allow the Senator a break to gather his thoughts. It is a beautiful piece of American government to watch. All thanks to a television show.

I just hope something good comes from this. Not simply knowledge, but legislation that will prevent or make it much harder for this to ever happen again. I can’t find it right now, but a friend posted something on Facebook that shows that stricter laws make things like this harder to happen. People point out that taking away the guns won’t stop this. No it won’t. But it will make it much harder. After Timothy McVeigh’s action, it became much harder to buy that much fertilizer and to park as close as he did to a government building. After 9/11 hijackers used box cutters to hijack airplanes, stricter restrictions on what passengers can bring onto planes, and airplanes and their crew changed to make it harder for hijackers to take over.

With that, I’m going to leave you with something that has gone viral, for good reason: