Since the disaster of 9/11, the so-called Patriot Act, one of the most misnamed laws in recent memory (given its content), has been an obscenity burrowing through the Constitution like a boll weevil through cotton.
The Patriot Act was perhaps the most unpatriotic law in modern history, for it was based on fear not reason, as perhaps best exemplified in the words of Michigan’s veteran senator, John Conyers, who told a broadcast audience on a BET news program–you know back when BET had news programs–that he signed the Act without reading it, saying “we were scared.”
The law gave a treasure trove of snooping powers to federal agencies to look everywhere, lest terrorists lurk. It strengthened immeasurably a new branch of government — the national security state. And government, empowered by the law, turns its lenses, mics and attention to its central subject, you.
Since the 70’s, the era of the Vietnam War, the peace movement, the civil rights and Black liberation movements, the women’s movement and student movements; the government waged secret war against American citizens, including figures like Martin Luther King, comedian Dick Gregory, the Black Panthers and beyond.
They (the US government) committed crimes vast and small, including murder. Remember Chicago’s Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, killed in his very bed?
The Patriot Act, even with its recent minor changes under the so-called USA Freedom Act, remains an obscenity, a blatant violation of the Constitution, in letter and spirit.
Reform is not enough, it must be abolished.