(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Well, at least they’re not Republicans. Or something.
Yesterday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to extend the Patriot Act, a law that violates the Fourth Amendment right of all people within the USA to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure. The Patriot Act grants extraordinary government powers to spy on Americans’ private lives, grabbing records of their communications, commercial activities, and even checking on which library books we’re reading. The law makes it crime for anyone conscripted into aiding these government spying programs to tell people that they’re being spied on either – they’re required by law to lie, and pretend nothing happened instead.
Last year, the judiciary committees of the Senate and House attempted to draft reforms of these kinds of terrible abuses. The reforms were weak, but a small step in the right direction. However, the Patriot Act extension passed this week by the House and Senate contains none of those reforms. In fact, the Patriot Act extension just passed by Congress has no reforms at all.
See here’s the thing that gets me about this and other things when people tell me that the Democrats just have a lot to do and that governing is complicated and difficult.
The Patriot Act provisions were set to expire this year. People who rallied the entire country to vote for Barack Obama, the entire liberal blogosphere was on fire for years at the unconstitutionality of this law and its depredations on the Fourth Amendment among others.
And now, some defenders of the Democrats want people to continue to support them on the pretext that “Well, at least they’re not as bad as the Republicans.”
Let me remind the reader that provisions of the Patriot Act were set to expire this year. To defeat those Patriot Act provisions required no action at all.
Yet here we are.
Tell me again how the Democrats are at least not as bad as the Republicans, that change takes time, and how governing is complicated and difficult. Tell me how not doing something is complicated and difficult.
Are our principles so bare, so shallow, that we shall be forced to actually support that which we railed against and attacked, for years, on the tribalistic instinct to defend and keep in office those who have a certain letter after their title?
I wanted to break the back of the Republican Party on account of this type of thing. But this cannot now be laid at the feet of the Republicans. Not only is this a case of not taking action when action is possible, to improve the rule of law, this is actually taking action when no action would have been better than this.
Perhaps someone will tell me that the Republicans will eat my cat if they get elected. Is things getting worse at a walk instead of at warp speed the best we can hope for in this country? Is this what the Democrats want to convince me to work for, and donate to, to say nothing of voting for?