IN FRANK Capra’s classic 1939 film Mr Smith Goes To Washington, James Stewart plays junior senator Jefferson Smith, a man who finds himself at odds with a corrupt political establishment. In the famous climax, Smith tries to prove his innocence by staging a filibuster, talking for hour after hour in a monologue that reaffirms American liberty and tries to expose the machinations of his opponents.
This week, a US politician reenacted the iconic sequence for real, accompanied by a chorus of popular support playing out live on twenty-first-century social networks. Rand Paul, the junior senator for Kentucky, stood for 13 hours to delay the appointment of John Brennan as head of the CIA. Brennan is a key architect of President Obama’s controversial drone strike policy, which claims the right to kill US citizens without due process even on American soil. Continue reading