I usually want politicians to shut up. Less talk, more action. But not today.
“I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.”
– Senator Rand Paul (KY)
What’s the issue? Why is Senator Rand Paul filibustering the Senate? Essentially, this administration has decided that it is okay, in “extraordinary circumstances” to use drone strikes within the United States. This issue has come up in the confirmation process of John Brennan, the administration’s nominee to become Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In spite of the references to “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, the issue is one of the most serious our nation faces.
I don’t think there are many people in this country who are against the United States fighting terrorists. The problem comes down to the application of vague policies. The Bush administration learned this upon the passage of the Patriot Act. What exactly IS an enemy combatant? Does a U.S. citizen shed his Constitutional rights when he leaves the country? If he stays here and plans or carries out attacks in the U.S.? What burden of proof does the government have before it can spy on its citizens? Where is the accountability vested for protecting a citizen’s rights? WHO DECIDES?
All these are the difficult questions in the balance between liberty and security. But they MUST be answered. Attempts to put them off to committees or to downplay the importance of the limits on the federal government only allow this administration OR ANY ADMINISTRATION free rein to operate in tyrannical ways.
It’s funny, too, because usually Hollywood gets this. Or used to. Call me paranoid, but ever since seeingEnemy of the State and Clear and Present Danger (among others) years ago, I haven’t been able to lose the thought of what could happen to a federal government with too much power. People joke about my ironic tinfoil hat picture,
but truthfully, on this one, I’m proud to wear the tinfoil.
If my imagination (or that of Hollywood) is any indication, the evil that lurks in the hearts of men is boundless when given the reins of power. We’ve seen it in country after country throughout history. What makes us think WE are built any differently? That our LEADERS are above abusing and becoming corrupted by their power?
That’s a special kind of arrogance, and it flies in the face of everything we know of human nature.
So while it may look like Rand Paul is just droning on about nothing much (now joined by Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, Jerry Moran, and Saxby Chambliss) think again, and consider the fundamental questions he is raising. Then contact your Senators and express your thoughts on unaccountable government, reminding them that the Senate DOES have a role to play in the confirmation process, even if they have abdicated it in the budget process.