Rand Paul is right. The Patriot Act is a disgrace and should be allowed to expire this month.
This week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) spent 10 hours on the Senate floor warning of the dangers in allowing the Patriot Act to be once again reauthorized in less than two weeks.
Among the more memorable moments, Paul stated:
“There comes a time in the history of nations when fear and complacency allow power to accumulate and liberty and privacy to suffer. That time is now, and I will not let the Patriot Act, the most unpatriotic of acts, go unchallenged.”Sen. Rand Paul - Senate Floor Speech, May 20, 2015
The above video is a 2-3 minute taste of the philosophy that guided Sen. Paul’s prolonged tirade.
The GOP-controlled Senate is pushing hard for a quick passage of the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. The vote is set for June 1.
This is the same Patriot Act, by the way, that allows for the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program, which has recently been ruled illegal in a Federal Court.
Despite the GOP’s strong support for suppressing every American’s Fourth Amendment rights, this issue not just a Republican problem. President Barack Obama, who has publicly complained about the excessive powers of America’s intelligence agencies, could quickly place a “stick in the spokes” by issuing an Executive Order. Several Democrats foolishly side with the GOP establishment in seeking to reauthorize the Patriot Act as is, with zero revisions.
This is outrageous.
Edward Snowden’s revelations of the Patriot Act’s secretive (and now, officially “illegal”) actions in targeting innocent American citizens shocked the world. The land of the free and the home of the brave had been reduced to a paranoid surveillance society, and was too afraid to even admit it.
Say what you want about Edward Snowden. But history will likely not frown on him as much as it will the upper echelon of Washington’s rampant military-industrial complex and its NSA goons that together, literally hollowed out every American’s Fourth Amendment rights in the early 21st century.
While I do not support every position held by Sen. Rand Paul, I do admire his forceful and unwavering stance against the Federal government’s gross overreach through its illegal bulk collection surveillance methods. By seeking to limit the excesses of the military-industrial complex, Paul is acting as a friend of every freedom-loving American citizen and their Constitution, both which have very few allies in Washington.
Since 9/11, America has been living in an Orwellian surveillance society. And it is getting worse by the day. The bulk data collection methods employed against peaceful American citizens is shameful. It is the noxious fruit of America’s irrational fear combined with the government’s predisposition towards overreach. Its a tragic combination that has preceded every totalitarian state throughout history. Americans seem to have lost their healthy fear of government.
The government is not your friend. Lest we forget, in the 20th century alone, governments were responsible for the deaths of 262,000,000 people.
The sooner the NSA is permanently dismantled, the safer we will all be, as it is not only a national disgrace, but a looming threat that can always be aimed directly at the American people with full intensity. There is nothing valiant or heroic in stripping Americans of their Fourth Amendment rights in the name of safety.
Are you so scared of “terrorism” that you are willing to give up your Constitutional right to privacy?
Has the corporate-controlled media’s never-ending promotion of “terrorists” caused you to willingly surrender, and even sacrifice, your personal liberties in exchange for a little protection from a bloated, bankrupt and out-of-control bureaucracy?
Benjamin Franklin clearly advised against this logic when he said: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
The Constitution is clear that Americans have the “right” to be left alone in their persons, papers, and effects. The Patriot Act destroys this right and has deservedly been labeled as “illegal” for that very reason.
Consider the wise words of two former U.S. Supreme Court Justices.
“The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.”Justice William O. Douglas, Public utilities Commission v. Pollak, 343 U.S. 451, 467 (1952)
“The right to be left alone — the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by a free people.”Justice Louis Brandeis, Olmstead v. U.S., 277 U.S. 438 (1928)
I believe in the right to be left alone. History testifies that this particular right is fundamental for a society to prevent the worst excesses of tyranny.
No threat, not even radical Islamic terrorists, is worth shredding our Constitution in the name of a “little temporary safety.”
So, on this issue, I stand with Rand. Congress should allow the worst elements of the Patriot Act to die a miserable death by not reauthorizing it at the end of May.
Let it die, but let us not forget it too soon. For it is in remembering these shameful events in American history that we remain intellectually capable of preventing future generations from repeating them.