There was a time when, if you were to express an opinion in writing, it would likely be over your own signature. In fact, sending an unsigned letter was widely considered an act of cowardice. Today, those lacking the courage of their own convictions can express themselves through anonymous donations to political action committees. Under what is termed “traditional dictates of Senate courtesy,” a shifty member can even place a hold on legislation anonymously and two or more such members can make such a hold last indefinitely. Contrast that to the way the filibuster was once seen, almost universally, as an act of courage.
Yes, the filibuster was once painful. It was adversarial. And it was a way to reveal one’s true character. The person holding up a vote in the Senate would have to stand and be seen. Forty senators would have to be present for the arguments, the rhetoric, andnthe cookie recipes. It was not a back channel process for those lacking the kind of backbone required to be truly representative of one’s constituency. Today, dark money and under the table transactions rule in the USA.