Who would have thought that a champion of liberal values would emerge from the American Tea Party movement? Rand Paul, presidential hopeful from the right wing of the republican party in the United States, has successfully led a campaign to prevent extension of the Patriot Act. The legislation was rushed through on a wave of national anxiety following the terrorist attacks of September the 11th 2001 – before anyone had really read it according to Michael Moore’s documentary, Fahrenheit 911.
Stop bugging us
When Barack Obama’s White House is referring to the congressional refusal to re-extend this legislation as an “irresponsible failure”, one could be forgiven for thinking the world has gone mad. A black president spitting blood because a right wing Republican has scuppered his anti-civil liberties agenda? Go figure.
The objections arise because Paul and his fellow rebels believe that security is supposed to protect liberty and that the Patriot Act has conceded too much to those who would limit American freedom by force. When the American government has the power to conduct mass surveillance of its own citizens, it deosn’t feel like a free country anymore. While American citizens languish in exile because they blew the whistle on institutional crime, Barack Obama looks angry and rightly embarrassed.
Our freedom is dependent on our courage. This law was an act of fear – exactly what terror is supposed to produce. Well done Rand Paul for being brave enough to take it on.