Earlier this week, as the outrage over “silencing” Sen. Elizabeth Warren was hitting fever pitch, Senator Marco Rubio took to the Senate floor to give an impassioned defense of respectful political discourse.
Rubio’s speech largely went unnoticed. That’s too bad. What he had to say was important, and well worth taking a few minutes of your time to hear. Here are a few of the best quotes.
Seven best quotes from Senator Rubio’s speech
“We are becoming a society incapable of having debate anymore.”
“I don’t know of a single Nation in the history of the world that has been able to solve its problems when half the people in the country absolutely hate the other half of the people in that country.”
“We are reaching a point in this republic where we are not going to be able to solve the simplest of issues because everyone is putting themselves in a corner where everyone hates everybody.”
“In this country, if you watch the big policy debates that are going on in America, no one ever stops to say: I think you are wrong. I understand your point of view. I get it. You have some valid points, but let me tell you why I think my view is better.”
“As soon as you offer an idea, the other side jumps and says that the reason you say that is because you don’t care about poor people, because you only care about rich people, because you are this or you are that or you are the other.”
“I think what is at stake here tonight…is not simply some rule but the ability of the most important Nation on Earth to debate in a productive and respectful way the pressing issues before us.”
“I am so grateful that God has allowed me to be born, to live, and to raise my family in a nation where people with such different points of view are able to debate those things in a way that doesn’t lead to war, that doesn’t lead to overthrows, that doesn’t lead to violence.”
On the Senate floor, a reverence for its elaborate traditions of civility still survives like a living fossil from another era. It is one of the last good things in Washington that the rank partisan atmosphere has yet to destroy. It won’t be long now before that to is eroded away.
We should at least allow for the possibility that the invocation of Senate Rule XIX was not an attempt to silence Senator Warren, but to preserve the respect for each other that allows Senators, and our country, to debate pressing issues productively.