Politicians are now pushing Congress to pass legislation that would renew the Patriot Act for not just one year, but two years – without any reforms.
The Patriot Act, along with the FISA Amendments Act, has enabled the U.S. federal government to set up a massive electronic surveillance dragnet that targets Americans living within U.S. borders and ignores the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
Some people say that we need to sacrifice our civil liberties through the Patriot Act for the sake of security. They say that we’ll be killed unless we give the government the power to spy on us, searching through our private conversations, financial transactions and Internet use for clues to possible evil conspiracies.
Those people are too frightened to hold on to the great freedom that the United States has bestowed upon them. They would rather give up their liberty for the illusion of security than allow for the system of mutual trust upon which democracy depends.
What can we call such people? They aren’t patriots, that’s for sure. Real patriots work to uphold freedom even when they become afraid. Real patriots don’t need an act.