Filibusters are so six months ago.
We all remember Rand Paul’s 13-hour theatrics in March, but he was one-upped this year by Ted Cruz, by a fellow Republican, and Representative from Texas. Cruz spoke for 21 straight hours, beginning at about 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, and concluding at around 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
The whole purpose of filibustering is to gain attention. What you say during your time on the Senate floor is pretty much irrelevant. All you have to do is make clear right away what you are against, and then you can talk about whatever the hell you want. As long as you never stop talking, the floor is yours.
Normally, a 21-hour speech might be met with some admiration by the general public. People might say, “Wow, he believed in this cause so strongly that he droned on for 21 straight hours? That is determination.” In this instance, Cruz’s motivation for his filibuster was to take on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.
However, Ted Cruz made one giant mistake.
When I said you can talk about whatever the hell you want while you’re filibustering, I meant it. That was evidenced when Cruz read none other than Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.
The fact that he read a children’s book is probably enough for him to no longer be taken seriously. With it, we got awesome headlines like CNN’s “Ted Cruz does not, will not like Obamacare.”
But the main source of hilarity was Cruz’s choice of book that he read.
Everybody has read Green Eggs and Ham. Whether you’re 5 or 75, you’ve read it. The book is incorporated into curricula in classrooms across the world. And for good reason.
Dr. Seuss, born Theodor Seuss Geisel, is an icon for a reason. And not just because he created zany characters, invented words, or had a gift of prose, but because all of his books had meaning. Embedded in each of his stories was a life lesson that applies to not only kids, but everyone. In Green Eggs and Ham, the story is about Sam I Am, who refuses to try the food the book is named after. He ignorantly disregards it, and decided that he doesn’t like it, even though he’s never tried it.
But in the end, he does finally try it, and he likes it. And the lesson that Sam I Am learns is to not oppose something based on ignorance.
Which is exactly what Ted Cruz was doing.
So in the end, the joke is on him. He tried to build nationwide contempt for Obamacare, but, in the end, because he opened up Green Eggs and Ham instead of the Lorax, all people are doing is making fun of him.
Yes I know he is a high-ranking and influential Senator with presidential aspirations, so I’m sure his feelings aren’t going to be too hurt. But it’s funny to me that he essentially wasted 21 hours of his life, and, if anything, made his party look even worse than it did before.
In the end, it just helps us realize how stupid filibustering is. It was cool when Bernie Sanders did it in 2010, mildly entertaining when Paul did it, and now it’s just old.
But, if anything good came out of it, it was that it got Dr. Seuss back in the news.
That is not, will not ever be a bad thing.