Saturday, January 07, 2006

Democrats fear the Patriot Act?

According to an opinion piece in The American Daily by Paul Ibbetson, Democrats fear (not hate nor dislike) the Patriot Act.

Ibbetson has a theory as to why Democrats dislike the Act:

1) He suggests that Democrats have been unable to think or devise an alternative strategies for the war on terror

2) and that the Act it self represents action

While this theory may apply to some liberals out there, I think we have seen that most Democrats in Congress support most of the Act. In question and up for debate are those provisions that may or may not violate civil liberties.

I think it is dangerous to say that just debating or questioning the Act means you are against stopping terrorists. This country has a long history of debate and free speech. These are the last things we should be willing to let go of.

President Bush, campaigning to make law permanent, said recently:

"When it came time to renew the act, for partisan reasons, in my mind, people have not stepped up and have agreed that it's still necessary to protect the country," Mr. Bush said. "The enemy has not gone away - they're still there. And I expect Congress to understand that we're still at war and they've got to give us the tools necessary to win this war."

While the measure was originally passed with bipartisan support, time limits were built in because:

"many lawmakers were nervous about its broad reach in the wake of criticism that the legislation impinged on civil liberties. Last month, with major provisions of the law set to expire on Dec. 31, the White House made a strong push to make the law permanent, but Democrats and a handful of Republicans balked, and extended the law for only five weeks, to Feb. 3." (Source: NY Times, emphasis added)

I cannot say that the Patriot Act is perfect as is and should remain as originally adopted. Congress has the ability to improve it.

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