Getting tired of lesbians, bisexuals, gays, transgendereds, pro-abortion choicers, Sandra Fluke anti-conceptionists, and now Espionage Act-violating leakers of national security secrets attempting to usurp the noble civil rights legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.? This content-of-character dreamer is.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), one of our tea partier conservative Republican heroes, disappointed us this week when he conflated the domestic spying revelations of Edward Snowden, former NSA contractor currently now living in Hong Kong under the “protection” of the Communist Chinese government, with a southern Baptist preacher who willingly sacrificed his personal liberty to oppose unjust laws denying blacks equal rights under the United States Constitution. Here’s Paul:
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I do know that committing civil disobedience is a — is a big step forward and history has treated people in various fashions. Some people who commit civil disobedience have been treated heroes, some have not.
I think it’s an interesting parallel to see, will we treat the head of intelligence who lied in open committee?
How will history treat him and how will history treat the person who was trying to defend the Fourth Amendment?
I think that’s still open to be said. I think there do need to be rules, that being said, about people not revealing secrets. And I think the divulging of all kinds of secrets that endanger lives is wrong. But in this case, I think he was divulging a program that I think clearly, there are constitutional questions about and for which the director of Intelligence frankly lied to the U.S. Senate and said, we’re not collecting any data on any Americans, when, in fact, they’re doing a billion pieces of data every day.
Yes, it would have been a big civil disobedience step forward if Edward Snowden had risked incarceration in a Birmingham, Alabama, or District of Columbia jail for obstructing access to an abortion clinic to protect the civil rights of babies with heartbeats in the wombs of anti-mothers; trespassing on land occupied by snail darters with an oil derrick asserting the liberty of humans to earn a living against the oppressive dictates of the EPA; or refusing to pay taxes on the income of a tea party patriot organization denied 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status, lest Mitt Romney spoil Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election party.
Should we trust President Obama with telephone and email metadata gathered by the NSA? No. Character matters in the executive, whether it be the office of President of the United States or your local sheriff. But preventing more 9/11s in a world rife with WMDs, including Flight 93s, is an imperative inconsistent with Gorelick Walls and after-the-fact first responders. The remedy for justifiable fears that a president whose Internal Revenue Service will intimidate his political opponents with tax audits, will also use NSA-gleaned information for political purposes is to refuse to elect, much less re-elect, or impeach men who park their butts in churches pastored by Rev. Jeremiah Wrights for 20 minutes, much less 20 years.
That commander-in-chief powers MAY be abused is no more reason for abandoning their use than would be allowing would-be plaintiffs driving automobiles in right-hand lanes to sue would-be defendants driving in left-hand lanes for damages because the latter MIGHT veer across the median and caused a head-on collision. And breaking a post-9/11 Patriot Act law justly employed to preempt mass murder because it MAY be abused to harm non-terrorist Americans is not an act of Ghandi-like civil disobedience against unjust laws that deny civil rights by their very operation.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson