In his book The Assault on Reason, Al Gore asks the question “why should we be concerned about warrantless surveillance?” He tells the story of Martin Luther King, whom the FBI called “the most dangerous negro alive” (with sincere condolences to all who read this!) and “vowed to take him off his pedestal”. They set out to destroy his marriage, infiltrated his religious movement, tracked his whereabouts and allegedly coerced him to commit suicide. Then he was finally murdered. Based on that legislation, wrote Al Gore, laws prohibiting warrantless wiretapping and surveillance were passed. The ACLU echoes the same history on its website.
Warrantless Anything always implies that the power of the Judiciary as a fundamental “check” on government power is being eroded. To uphold the power of the Judiciary as an important part of our system of checks and balances is key to preventing abuses of power.
To stress the hope, Credo (long distance and wireless phone company) has pledged in writing not to wiretap without court warrant. Far from “complying with laws” as is claimed by the corporations participating in the warrantless wiretapping program, to refuse to cooperate with the warrantless wiretapping is to uphold the first and fourth amendments. The first amendment guarantees free speech, while the fourth amendment guarantees our rights to be safe from unreasonable, unwarranted searches, seizures and arrests. Thus, to undercut the wiretapping program is key to preserving our freedom and to undermining the FBI’s unilateral arrest/NSL powers under the Patriot Act.
Congress is responsible for passing every one of these laws. Their sworn oath before taking public office is to “uphold, protect and defend the Constitution”. By passing these laws, they knew exactly what they were doing: Far from merely breaking the law, they were and are undercutting fundamental Constitutional principles and betraying their oath of office. While we pay taxes for them to uphold that oath, they use our money to bite the hand which feeds them.
It is time for Americans to peacefully, non-violently yet effectively fight back. To run for public office is one way to challenge the seats of unethical members of Congress who, on our tax dollars, are ruining our quality of life while we pay for it.
To “plug” for campaign finance reform would be key: A friend of mine who ran for County Supervisor and refused to accept campaign contributions from corporations, told me how much of a struggle it was to maintain his integrity and to “just say no”. He also lost his bid in large part because of that ethic. If this is the case with even the entry-level positions in office, think of what is involved in actually “making it to the top”. No wonder we have so many unethical Congresspeople and Presidents in office! It is time to beat the system.The Foundation Center www.fdncenter.org is a database listing grantors which contribute on a national and international basis. It is an enormous website with grantors contributing to every category, one of which is social justice giving. Consulting with the Foundation Center Librarians is free of charge, and courses are offered in grant-writing. Grants range from under $3,000 to over $500,000 and are categorized in two basic databases: Grants for non-profits and grants for individuals. Grantors are eager to advertise their backing of break-through causes (a feather in their cap): It is possible (No guarantees!) that a grant could be obtained for campaigning based on the public and wide-spread advertisement of the need for campaign finance reform.
Congress is clearly undermining our freedom. Join the cause of running for public office to challenge the seats of any unethical Congress people (please check the Congressional voting record first, to be sure you are not unseating a GOOD person!) and you will be doing America a huge favor! If Old Abe could rise from uneducated status to U.S. President, think how much you can do. If Lynn Woolsey, D-CA, could make her way from welfare mother to U.S. Representative, and if Russ Feingold could advertize his campaign on his garage door and win (while accepting no campaign contributions or raises in public office), what are your own capabilities? What about your friends? Please consider running for public office or submitting a letter to the editor, asking others to consider a bid of their own for public office. The best way to fight for our country is not to wage war, but to wield the sword of truth and justice. We all, and our children, will deeply thank you for preserving America as The Land of the Free.