April 12th, 2003

ice cream

Congressional Response

Some of you may remember me saying how I was going to write my Congressional reps about my opposite to the "USA PATRIOT Act." This billed, which overwhelmingly passed the House and Senate and got signed into law by Bush, makes changes to criminal investigation and foreign intelligence gahtering laws and generally expands the surveillance and wiretap powers of the the federal gov't. I believe Ashcroft was behind a lot of it and it's the kind of thing that had a lot of really creepy provisions. I also didn't like the fact that it was set to expire in 4 years but probably would be the sort of thing they'd keep on permanently, since once somebody has power, they're loath to give it up.

Anyway, at the time it was being considered, I wrote my two senators and my representative, John Lewis. Even though it passed, Rep. Lewis wrote me back a letter, which appears to be actually signed by him, expressing his regrets. To quote:

Although I believe that we must vigorously pursue and bring to justice terrorists, I had serious concerns with this legislation unnecessarily infringing on our civil liberties and that is why I voted against the bill. While I recognize that some measures may be necessary to prevent further terrorist attacks adn to find those who are responsible, I strongly believe that the bill went too far in undermining fundamental civil liberties and civil rights in the name of providing greater security.

One thing I never have to worry about is my representative messing up on a civil liberties issues. A few times I think he's gone a tiny bit TOO far but in general, wow, that man has integrity. Of course, anybody who's been beaten up in nonviolent protests would tend to have that quality.
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