If you aren't a nerd who streams CSPAN, you may have missed yesterday's great filibuster in the Senate, a nearly-15-hour-long effort led by Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut to push Republicans to quit snoozing on sensible gun control policies that would help make this Onion article stop being relevant practically every goddamn day. Well, it worked: By the end of the filibuster, Murphy announced that party leaders had agreed to vote on two gun measures—one that would keep people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns, and another that would enforce background checks for gun purchases at gun shows and online. This was after an incredibly emotional, long-ranging discussion of why progress on gun control has been so slow in the wake of so many horrific shootings like the one that happened in Orlando over the weekend. It was powerful testimony, and what democracy looks like at its best.
Your senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, were both in attendance. (So were Washington State's Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell—this was a PNW-strong filibuster.) And although the most media-hyped moments of the whole powerful thing belong to Senator Murphy and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Wyden and Merkley both got in some strong, necessary words.
In his remarks, Merkley brought up shooting incidents close to home, including the 2015 shooting at Umpqua Community College, and was firm in advocating both for tighter restrictions on guns and for doing the work to undo discrimination that leads to violence against marginalized groups. "When you have a legal structure that embraces discrimination, that creates a culture that embraces discrimination," he said.
Wyden, for his part, emphasized the reach of the trauma caused by violence, and frustration that while shootings have been happening with a regularity "like clockwork," "like clockwork, this Congress does nothing about it."
During the filibuster, the Brady campaign made it extremely easy for constituents to call their senators to voice support for the filibuster and urge a vote. And you did. By the time I called Wyden's office at 8 pm, the senator's voicemail was full.