There’s plenty of hypocrisy to go around in the so-called War on Terror debate or Patriot Act debate. On both sides and debates like this is where you find out who are the real Liberals and the real Conservatives. And who are the real Democrats and Republicans. And the real Liberals and Conservatives in this debate are the people who believe in civil-liberties. They also believe in the rule of law and that government has the responsibility to protect us but. Not at the expense of our freedom that just because terrorism is a bigger threat today then it was 15-20 years ago. But not ten years ago because now the we know who the threats are, that we shouldn’t trade away or give up our civil-liberties so we can be safer. That it’s not an either or, live in freedom or live with safety. That it’s a false choice for a couple of reasons.
That if you do not have freedom you are not safe because even though government is protecting you from terrorists. Now you have government on your back interfering with how you live your own life. Because they can check on you and now your civil-liberties are thrown in the garbage can for your supposed own. Protection but it’s also a false choice because we can have both freedom and safety at the same time. During the Bush Administration the clear supporters of the Patriot Act were the Republican Party and the Democrats in Congress who voted for it. And if Barack Obama was in Congress before entering the Senate in 2005 I’m guessing he would’ve. Been one of those Democrats who would’ve voted against it based on his record as a Senator from 2005-09. And by 2005 President Bush’s approval rating was around thirty percent because of the Iraq War, the failed. Social Security reform let’s call it project that he couldn’t get a Republican Congress to push. And then of course Hurricane Katrina in the late summer of that year.
So by late 2005 with Democrats seeing a path back to taking control of Congress again had no issues about bashing. The Patriot Act and talking about civil-liberties and how the War on Terror violates those things and so forth. The problem is a lot of these Democrats like Senator Pat Leahy who was Chairman of the Judiciary Committee when Congress first passed the Patriot Act. And became Chairman of that committee again in 2007 when Democrats won back Congress. Voted for the bill in 2001 and extensions of it ever since. So the real Liberals and Conservatives in this debate are the people who believe in civil-liberties. That you can have safety as well as freedom that it’s not an either or. But the real Democrats and Republicans are the people who use the Patriot Act to advance their political agenda. Not philosophical agenda but partisan political agenda. That if we are in power and have to enforce the Patriot Act so we do not look “soft on terror”. Then the Patriot Act is good but if we are in the opposition then the Patriot Act is bad and we are going to use it to bash. The other party which is why now you have Democrats in favor of it because they are the party in power. And Republicans who are against it because they are the opposition.
My position on the Patriot Act and the broader so-called War on Terror is how I approach every policy that I look at. Does it protect individual-freedom and responsibility and is it constitutional or not. If it is and it’s done in a responsible way that it’s a good policy that can work and we can afford it and it’s enforceable and so forth. Chances are I’ll be in favor of it but if it violates those things I’m going to be against it. That it’s never a choice of freedom or safety but even if someone were to ask me that question and I answered. It just to make them feel better if for no other reason. I would choose freedom because with freedom at least I retain the ability to protect and take responsibility over my own life. Rather then not only now having to deal with terrorists and what they might try to do to me. But government snooping on me and trying to protect me from myself as well.
There are some good things that have come since the so-called War on Terror. Requiring our security and intelligence agencies to work and communicate with each other. The Department of Homeland Security despite a rough start has performed very well. We are now a safer country from terrorism then we were before because we know the threats now. But we’ve paid a heavy price for it as a result with our civil-liberties and that’s not a trade I want to make. So eliminate the warrantless wiretapping, the indefinite detention and government being able. To snoop on people and look in to see who we are talking to and what we read and so forth. And leave in the good things and we can again be a country that defends and protects ourselves. While leaving our freedom in place as well.