Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Some Thoughts on the "Patriot Act"

Regarding the impending renewal/"enhancement" of the Patriot Act...
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States says: "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."
The Sixth Amendment says: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence."
A few things come to mind as I reflect on this.
This was written and adopted by people who had suffered... first hand and often cruelly... the pains of war and depredation and who had taken the position that never again should anyone experience such violations of their rights.
As I read the entire Bill of Rights I did not find the word "citizen." The Constitution defines... and limits... the powers of the government, but nowhere do I find that it only defines and limits those powers with respect to its own citizens.
I could be a whacked-out liberal civil libertarian... or I could be a conservative strict-constructionist... but it occurs to me that many Americans today appear to be all too willing to give up the heart of who we were and what it used to mean to be an American because we got hurt and scared four years ago.
The Administration is saying that this is all going to be okay because they have never misused their authority so far. Even if you believe that, it doesn't matter! People... other than the President and Vice President... have committed their lives to preserving these rights. You don't risk losing it all just because you're having a panic attack. That's just... wrong. That would mean that I spent twenty years of my life defending... nothing?

2 Comments:

Anonymous Winston Rand said...

Strike that last sentence! Your 20 years will turn out to have been well spent. Need a new administration first, but that will happen.

Not to be picky, but there is a typo in 4th amendment. If it wasn't in that I wouldn't even mention it. "Probable" instead of "probably".

You would probably enjoy some of the comments at: http://www.nobodyasked.com/archives/2005/06/14/sing-the-blahs/

6:45 AM  
Blogger Always Question said...

Thank you, Winston! If I was to leave a typo, it definitely shouldn't be that one.

8:37 AM  

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