An Appeal to Heaven
Today, members of the US Senate continue to battle over reauthorizing provisions of the Patriot Act. If no agreement is reached, the NSA will no longer be able to legally collect data on US citizens in an indiscriminate manner.
Much has been said and we, at this point, can do no more than voice our opinions to our Senators. However, we hope that three things may help to overcome the fearful, falling-sky rhetoric around non-renewal and allow enough Senators the courage to stand firm in their opposition.
First, there is no evidence that the Act has actually done what "the professionals" claim it should. There is no proof that any terrorist act has been prevented by the bulk collection provisions that are set to expire. This, from the current Inspector General of the FBI.
Second, there have been abuses - multiple abuses - of surveillance powers by law enforcement under the auspices of "making us safer." This has occurred on local, state, and Federal levels. It is secretive, it is ubiquitous, and it is targeted at all of us.
Third, we are approaching a point where we are told the only way to preserve our individual safety is to sacrifice our national identity. America did not magically appear. It was engineered and designed by men who believed that legitimate power flowed from the citizenry to government, not the other way around, and that individual liberty was sacrosanct above all other things. As mentioned, there is little to no evidence that the promised safety is being delivered, yet many fellow citizens are lining up to willingly sacrifice our civil liberties - the absolute essence of what made "the American Experiment" unique in history. Do you want to be possibly safe but no longer truly American, or to run the risk of physical harm - as a free American citizen? Are you okay with being treated as a potential criminal to possibly keep you safe from an actual one?
Benjamin Franklin's 1755 quote, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety," has been thrown about a lot in this debate. We ask that you also consider the words of John Adams:
We hope tomorrow will restore a little more freedom, even if that incurs a little more risk.