Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Why I #StandWithRand

Whatever your politics or thoughts on the man, Sen. Rand Paul is correct in opposing a renewal of policies in the USA PATRIOT Act, and filibustering an extension to end NSA spying.

The fourth amendment of the United States Constitution is
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.
Cornell Law explains:
The Fourth Amendment originally enforced the notion that “each man’s home is his castle”, secure from unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government.  It protects against arbitrary arrests, and is the basis of the law regarding search warrants, stop-and-frisk, safety inspections, wiretaps, and other forms of surveillance, as well as being central to many other criminal law topics and to privacy law.
Friends, countrymen, lend me your eyes. Our rights and freedoms are as important as our security. We cannot promote freedom abroad when we violate freedom at home.

It would be one thing if the government was procuring a warrant (probable cause to investigate approved by a judge); no, they have the ability to search our privacy and seize intimate information. Even if you have nothing to hide, you have no reason to share what is yours and yours alone.

We are not safer because of these measures. Our liberties are watered down, diluted to the point that defending our rights becomes controversial! This is absurdity.

In 2013, when Paul was filibustering the PATRIOT Act again, The Daily Beast published "Why You Shouldn't #StandWithRand" by David Frum. He wrote,
Paul's filibuster ostensibly dealt only with a very remote hypothetical contingency: targeted killings on American soil of Americans who present no imminent threat to national security. Paul insisted that all the harder questions be taken off the table. He had (he said) no issue with a targeted killing on American soil of an American who did present an imminent threat. He avoided the issue of the targeted killings of Americans outside the United States - i.e., the actual real-world problem at hand. 
Instead, Paul invoked a nightmare out of a dystopian future: an evil future president shooting a missile at an American having coffee in a neighborhood cafe, merely on suspicion, without any due process of law
I think we can all agree that such a case would be pretty deplorable. It is also far-fetched.
The same month this was written, this happened. Four Americans killed by drone without due process. Maybe the president wasn't drinking coffee, and I don't think he is personally evil - but the ability to kill a person by drone is evil. We already do this to non-Americans - is it really so far fetched? Does the picture drawn really matter? In the end, liberties - put into place to protect us against government infringement.

This overstep on our liberties is nothing new. John Otis, a lawyer, is said to have inspired the idea of the American Revolution from a three-hour speech he gave against illegal searches and seizures. In February 1761, John Adams explained the power of James Otis and his oration:
But Otis was a flame of fire!—with a promptitude of classical allusions, a depth of research, a rapid summary of historical events and dates, a profusion of legal authorities, a prophetic glance of his eye into futurity, and a torrent of impetuous eloquence, he hurried away every thing before him. American independence was then and there born; the seeds of patriots and heroes were then and there sown, to defend the vigorous youth, the non sine Diis animosus infans.* Every man of a crowded audience appeared to me to go away, as I did, ready to take arms against writs of assistance**. Then and there was the first scene of the first act of opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there the child Independence was born. In fifteen years, namely in 1776, he grew up to manhood, and declared himself free.
If you value your rights; if you believe in due process; if you're against warrantless spying and arrests, #StandwithRand.

* translated from Horace, "Not without the gods is the infant courageous."
** the writs of assistance were court orders that authorized customs officers to conduct general (non-specific) searches of premises for contraband. The exact nature of the materials being sought did not have to be detailed, nor did their locations.

No comments:

Post a Comment