After telling my friend I would like to see Senate Rules again require "Talking Filibusters," he expressed his glee because "it proved this Administration won't come clean with secret dealings that are a threat to Americans." Which made me think how Rand Paul's stunt really brought to light the potential problems with drone attacks on Americans residing inside or outside of America. Which made me think about it further.
Is the hang-up with Presidential authority to kill Americans on American soil really a legitimate problem? Is the question so simple that all we need to ask what Senator Paul demanded to know, "Does the President have the authority to kill Americans with Drones on American Soil?" But isn't it more important instead to question how any American may ever become so dangerous that they may be added to a kill list in the first place? I mean, what standards are being used to determine whether any American is to be put to death by the United States Government? More importantly, the vast numbers of supporters of Paul's actions seem to have been in hiding when something potentially more threatening to our democracy was passed by Congress under the Public's radar last December...the extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act until 2017!
I know, you probably know nothing about that law, but that is exactly why I am bringing it up now. Even though the media had many Americans tuned into Rand Paul's filibuster exposing the problems of having little to no clear and understood guidelines for the killing of American citizens, the media ignored educating the public when Congress approved granting our government unfettered access to all of our electronic communications. Yes, you got that right, the government under FISA may eavesdrop on all Americans' electronic communications, including e-mails, Internet activity and Banking without obtaining a court ordered search warrant. But how do Americans get on the list to have their communications monitored by the government? I know, that sticky question again!
Now I know folks claim they have nothing to hide from their government so what is the big deal, but until we know what standards are being used to determine how Americans become initial suspects that could lead to inclusion on any "Kill List", shouldn't we all be more concerned about our "Free" speech being potentially surveilled and chilled by our own government? And where were the Media and those Libertarian leaning Republicans like my friend when the Bill was up for passage in December? For the record, the bill passed the Senate by a vote of 73 in favor to 23 opposed. Of the 23 opposed, only 2 were Republicans and Rand Paul to his credit was one of them! In the House, the measure passed 301 in favor and 118 opposed, of which only 7 of the "Ney" votes were Republican, the rest were Democrats. So where was the outrage then over the extension of FISA that we see now over the potential domestic use of drones?
Until Americans begin to pay attention to what our government is being authorized to do that restrict our Constitutional rights, we may be paying much more in the form of losses to our civil liberties! As Abraham Lincoln once wrote,, "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." Isn't paying attention less expensive than paying with a loss of our liberty?