I’ll repeat that because it’s so unbelievable when you really think about it; he is the only senator to vote against confirming the Patriot Act.
I believe that it is important to highlight this because, apparently, Arlen Specter (the bill’s sponsor and a guy who has made a career out of pretending to be a moderate while siding with his right-wing Repug party membership on EVERY SINGLE OCCASION – remember how “inviolable” Roe v. Wade was supposed to be to him before he helped confirm Alito?) now has the 60 votes required to overcome Feingold’s courageous filibuster (my God, someone in Congress actually trying to protect civil liberties...what a “pre-9/11” mindset, huh?). As this story notes, though, Feingold is doing everything in his power to gut this ruinous piece of legislation.
You may wonder why Feingold has maintained such a principled opposition. I think this speech shortly after the infamous terrorist attacks in 2001 explains a lot, particularly this highlighted passage (the fact that we’re considering this as the holiday for George Washington and, especially, Abraham Lincoln nears is particularly ironic to me):
During those first few hours after the attacks, I kept remembering a sentence from a case I had studied in law school. Not surprisingly, I didn’t remember which case it was, who wrote the opinion, or what it was about, but I did remember these words: “While the Constitution protects against invasions of individual rights, it is not a suicide pact.” I took these words as a challenge to my concerns about civil liberties at such a momentous time in our history; that we must be careful to not take civil liberties so literally that we allow ourselves to be destroyed.And…
But upon reviewing the case itself, Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, I found that Justice Arthur Goldberg had made this statement but then ruled in favor of the civil liberties position in the case, which was about draft evasion. He elaborated:
“It is fundamental that the great powers of Congress to conduct war and to regulate the Nation’s foreign relations are subject to the constitutional requirements of due process. The imperative necessity for safeguarding these rights to procedural due process under the gravest of emergencies has existed throughout our constitutional history, for it is then, under the pressing exigencies of crisis, that there is the greatest temptation to dispense with fundamental constitutional guarantees which, it is feared, will inhibit governmental action. “The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances.... In no other way can we transmit to posterity unimpaired the blessings of liberty, consecrated by the sacrifices of the Revolution.”
Protecting the safety of the American people is a solemn duty of the Congress; we must work tirelessly to prevent more tragedies like the devastating attacks of September 11th. We must prevent more children from losing their mothers, more wives from losing their husbands, and more firefighters from losing their brave and heroic colleagues. But the Congress will fulfill its duty only when it protects both the American people and the freedoms at the foundation of American society. So let us preserve our heritage of basic rights. Let us practice that liberty. And let us fight to maintain that freedom that we call America.So now, barring the success of any more of Feingold's heroic efforts, Frist and his fellow Repugs can railroad this awful act through Congress and claim victory.
Well, if I had the opportunity to contact any of those clowns who support this, I would ask them to read the highlighted text of this post aloud and see what happens.
I’m sure Specter’s eyes would glaze over, because his actions communicate to me that he doesn’t understand what all of this means any more. Frist would probably choke, since the words of free, peace-loving people who cherish their liberties, aspire to equality for all and seek no quarrel with others unless provoked would no doubt turn into poison in his mouth.