No Sitting, Bathroom Or Food Are Why The Inhuman Rules Of Filibustering Are In Dire Need Of Change

No Sitting, Bathroom Or Food Are Why The Inhuman Rules Of Filibustering Are In Dire Need Of Change

No bathroom breaks. No eating breaks. No sitting. You think you have what it takes?

I was on Facebook the other evening when a video caught my eye. It was telling the story of the Democratic filibuster on gun control that happened last year. I dug a little deeper to find out that the filibuster (a tactic used in the U.S. Senate to block or delay action on a bill) lasted an astounding 15 hours led by Connecticut Senator Christopher Murphy and 39 other Senators. It amazed me that politicians would go to such lengths to stop a bill or pass one.

I read another story about the Texas Senator Wendy Davis. She filibustered for 13 hours to stop Texas's anti-abortion bill from being passed. She was on her feet the entire time. She was not allowed to use the bathroom. This is a rule for all filibusters. Instead, Ms. Davis used a urinary catheter on the Senate floor. Another rule for filibusters: you can't eat anything except hard candy, water and milk. Ridiculous? I know. I was thinking the same thing.

I went on to read 10 other filibuster stories involving politicians on both sides of the political spectrum. Whatever they believed in, they all had to follow the same absurd rules. No bathroom breaks unless another senator "allows" you to go, because he or she has yielded the floor to make a note. No eating except candy (because that apparently keeps stamina up). And no sitting.

Whoever came up with the rules for filibustering obviously took the phrase, "Stand up for what you believe in," too literally. The idea of filibustering makes sense — you get a hold of the floor for as long as you'd like to talk your colleagues into siding with you. But the fact that you get a hold of the floor until you pass out from fatigue or a cloture happens is inhumane.

Instead, there should be other rules in place. For example, for every five hours of your filibuster, you get a five minute washroom break. The rule of eating nothing but candy and milk is also useless. A person has to have all of their strength if they're trying to put up a fight for what they believe in. They need real food, like a sandwich. Plus, while standing gives you authority and power over the audience, standing for hours on end can cause fatigue. Government should not be a fight for who can physically stand the longest. It should be about reaching an agreement like sane, logical human beings.

Sure, rules should be implemented, like you have to talk while you have a snack, but the Senate shouldn't just outright ban food on the floor. Senate should give a two minute sitting break every couple of hours. Senate already has the power to close a filibuster with a cloture, so at least give the filibustering Senator a real chance to convince others of their side. If they're sweating, starving and really have to go to the bathroom, what chance do they have to make a convincing argument?

Don't get me wrong. Senators have succeeded in their filibusters in the past. Wendy Davis did. That doesn't mean the rules of filibustering should be brutal. The point of the filibuster is to really get the attention of Senators to prove that the filibustering Senator really believes in what they're trying to pass or inhibit. While the rules should be strict in order to maintain the fact that filibusters are difficult and should be used as last resorts, they should not be detrimental to the Senator's health.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

Popular Right Now

So What is Feminism?

It's Time to do Our Homework!

In light of the Women's March on January 20th 2018, I find it pertinent that we just recap what feminism is.

Some of you might be groaning already:

"ugh why do we even need feminism? it’s like the 20th century women have rights already?"

"yea... some women just need to be better than men ....and that’s just not gonna happen"

(***eye roll with an extra healthy dose of sarcasm sprinkled on top***)

So what EXACTLY is Feminism?

Feminism is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as:

"The advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes."

and defined by Miriam Webster Dictionary as:

-"The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes"

- "Organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests"

"Woah woah woah! hold up... what’s all this "equality" mumbo jumbo?"

I am SO glad you asked!

Lets break this down: Feminism is actually a sociological term to describe the efforts to have equal rights, representation, wages, healthcare and education for ALL people.

“Once more for the people in the back!”


So, if you believe that everyone, no matter their socio-economic background, ethnicity, religion, education but most importantly: their gender, should have access to basic human things such as

  • Access to healthcare
  • Access to equal education opportunities
  • Access to fair and equal wages
  • Access to housing
  • Access to healthy nutrition

Then congratulations, you’re a Feminist.

Now this doesn't mean that you need to break out your body paint and most glittery bra and join a social movement (but props to you if thats your thing!)

All it really means is that you care about other people sharing this space, this country and this world with you.

...and hey, maybe they deserve the opportunity to work just as hard as you do to earn the things that you have.

Recap: Feminism= rights for ALL PEOPLE.

Cover Image Credit: Samuel Corum, Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Mass Shootings And Masculinity Go Hand In Hand

What we're not talking about.

Nineteen mass shootings. Nineteen mass shootings have happened since January 2018 and we’re only in the middle of February. This past shooting at Parkland high school really hit me hard. As I saw the victims of the shooting they reminded me of the kids that I went to high school with. One of the victims was apart of her high school’s color guard and I thought about how much I loved guard when I was in high school. I connected with her.

I saw the videos posted on Snapchat of what the students actually experienced and shed tears with my hand covering my mouth from shock. I saw how insanely graphic the scene was and how being there physically can traumatize one for the rest of their life. No one should have to go through this.

The debates on tv include those of gun control and mental health. On social media, different countries are being thrown around as examples for both stricter gun control, and the allowance for more guns. I also see how the shooter was seen as “mentally ill”, and the stigmatization of those who have mental health issues are dangerous is furthered. The one issue that no one is talking about that plays a huge role in these mass shootings in masculinity.

A large majority of these shooters are white men. While these shootings are also a racial issue I’m going to focus on the gender issue. From a young age, men are exposed to what society deems as masculine. Media hypermasculinized everything to the point where it’s ridiculous. Don’t believe me? Look up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and see how ridiculously buff they are. They’re cartoon turtles, yet the societal standard of masculinity applies to them.

Even when it comes to toys the commercials for nerf and water guns show only males. Showing that guns are masculine. Young boys are raised to engage in masculine activities or they’re isolated socially and emotionally. Even when young men are engaging in “masculine” activities they still may not be good enough. Getting angry, being the bad boy, having a temper are seen as “cool” traits that males desire to have in order to give themselves an edge.

Now most young boys go through this, and masculinity is not the main factor in mass shootings but it is still a factor. It is a factor that we need to consider because eliminating any factor that helps to produce a mass shooter can help save lives.

Cover Image Credit: Brooke Cagle

Related Content

Facebook Comments