Politicians are not known for delivering on promises. Jokes about them are constantly made, how they take a stand firmly on both sides of an issue, or how when one of them comes to a fork in the road, he takes it.
But at midnight last night, Eastern Time, as the moon rose over Washington DC, the sun set on one of the most abusive attacks on human rights in American history. The US PATRIOT Act died a peaceful death, swallowing its last breaths as a group of politicians laid pressure on its windpipe, being certain it would not rise in the morning.
Hurrah! We won. At last, a cause taken up by the liberal British Newspaper The Guardian was finished by a Republican Conservative. The Republican, Rand Paul, is a member of an almost extinct species, politicians who do the right thing, because it is right, not because it is popular, even if their own leadership doesn’t want them to do what they’re doing.
There is still work to do of course. And Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and a few brave Democrats are going to try to see it through. Marco Rubio, who is running for president, has announced he liked the unconstitutional spying of millions of Americans.
This is and should be a nonpartisan issue. The next battle is now the USA Freedom Act, a watered down version of the PATRIOT Act which is so weak even the NSA and Barak Obama are comfortable with it. We still have to end many programs which are collecting all sorts of data, because Americans, to be free, must have privacy.
But for now, if even for a few hours or days, our calls are private. No one is sitting collecting them en masse somewhere. The president and the NSA, in at least this way, are not breaking the US Constitution. For that we can thank Rand Paul, a man I just a couple of weeks ago wondered about even as a viable candidate for president. He has just proved, in a big way, that he has at least a very good possibility of getting my vote.
Andrew C. Abbott