Fight the Power!
The debate on the FISA bill begins today, with the vote scheduled for tomorrow. Call your Senators today, and tell them to stand up for the Constitution.
We are asking Senators to vote IN FAVOR of the Dodd-Feingold-Leahy Amendment (S.A. 5064 to H.R. 6304). We’re asking for a NO vote on cloture, and a NO vote on the final bill as well. [my emphasis – Jenn]
Why do we need to oppose this deeply-flawed bill?
Because it is a violation of our Fourth Amendment rights, allowing the government to spy on Americans and their phone calls, emails, and text messages.
Because it legalizes government and corporate law-breaking.
Because it says, “If the President does it, it’s not illegal.”
Because it is a violation of all that we celebrated just four days ago.
The Fourth Amendment is crystal clear on this issue:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Indeed, how much more clear could it be? We are protected – Constitutionally-guaranteed — the right not to be spied on, to have our homes and workplaces searched, or our communications monitored unless a warrant is issued.
The government cannot simply say, “Terrorists might be calling” but must have probable cause to suspect us in a crime. The warrant cannot simply say, “Anyone calling from the 570 area code” but must specify exactly who is the target and what places/items are to be searched and/or seized.
If this legislation passes, it is a very small step to allowing police to enter our homes, workplaces, and vehicles just to “look around” and see if we might be doing something wrong. Not because we are, but “just in case.”
Instead of police needing to show a court probable cause to believe we’re committing crimes, they’ll just walk in while we’re at work, snoop through our closets and underwear drawers, read our mail, and inspect our basements and attics. “Just in case” we might be growing marijuana or running a prostitution ring or selling infants on the black market or whatever.
And, please, I don’t even want to hear that canard, “If you’re not doing something illegal, you have nothing to worry about.”
Not. The. Point.
Suppose the next Constitutional right of the people to be taken away is the right against self-incrimination? (Fifth Amendment)
What if we are no longer allowed to speak freely, assemble in groups, or worship as we please? (First Amendment)
The point is that if these rights can be abridged in the name of “fighting terrorism,” if our country must turn its back on more than two centuries of Constitutional guarantees and on our own history of freedom and enlightenment even in the face of peril, in order to be “protected” from terrorists, then the terrorists have won.
It’s that simple.
Benjamin Franklin said it best, and in far fewer words,
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
If our nation cannot survive by holding firm to its most basic principles, then we do not deserve to survive.
It is past time for our Representatives and Senators to uphold their oaths of office:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me [God].”
It’s long past time for them to say NO to legislation that legalizes criminal behavior by the government and by the telecommunications industry.
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