In the name of "protecting" us, they voted to invade us. This law extends unprecedented and unconstitutional power to the White House, letting a president decide on his own whim to have the government listen in on hundreds of millions of our phone and Internet messages. No courts, no warrants, no oversight.
Yes, terrorists are a threat, and, yes, we must be vigilant as a nation -- but that doesn't mean being stupid. Bush likes to say that terrorists "hate us for our freedoms." If so, how pathetic for him and Congress to be so cowed that they react by removing our freedoms. Liberty is America's greatest treasure, our defining ideal -- why are today's craven leaders surrendering something so essential to terrorists? The founders understood that you don't gain security by locking down liberty, and subsequent generations fought, bled and died to secure that wisdom. Are we so weak today that we can't stand up both to the terrorists and to those who would shred our Constitutional principles?
Most of the media coverage of this legislation has focused on whether AT & amp;T and other telecom giants should get retroactive immunity for having illegally helped Bush spy on us. I think they should not, but let's not lose sight of the bigger issue. By massively expanding the executive branch's spy powers, it's our own elected representatives who are surrendering our civil liberties and betraying some 230 years of the rule of law.