Well, another hopey-changey item on the Obama to-do list—or at least something we’d all hoped he’d changed, I think—is now among one of those extremely offensive bipartisan efforts the president keeps throwing at us in the name of a compromise that nobody wants.
The PATRIOT Act, that hundreds-of-pages document passed way back when, right after 9/11, makes a lot of illegal acts legal in the name of terrorism. I remember attending protests, screaming about how we don’t have a fourth amendment anymore, how our constitution is being crumbled by this act—and how the hell can the Supreme Court allow it, by the way?—and how “Hey hey, ho ho, George Bush has got to go.”
I never thought I would associate this bill, and especially its renewal, with someone as enlightened as Barack Obama is supposed to be. But he’s done it; he’s signed the bill and allowed it to be renewed for another four years.
The Act allows the government to use roving wiretaps, search records, and all kinds of other privacy violations—and worse—in the name of terrorism. There have been news stories about college kids having their dorms searched while they weren’t home because they expressed anti-Bush sentiments and worse; I don’t remember all of the different pieces of evidence, but I once had to build a college debate on the subject and I know I had a huge file box full of stories.
So much for the biggest liberal ever elected, right? Most of us on the left already knew that—especially after Obama nixed the public option for healthcare, made allowances for the quagmires we’ve started in the Middle East, and most recently when he renewed Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy, further plummeting us into massive debt.
I get that Obama has done a lot of great things for us that we asked for, and I get that he inherited one of the worst presidential jobs and U.S. climates in history; but I’m so damn tired of this “meet in the middle” BS that we NEVER get extended from the right. While we’ve got someone from the left in office, he needs to worry about serving the people who freaking voted for him—not reaching across the aisle for compromises that don’t mean squat to the right to begin with. He gives them an inch and they demand miles, and why wouldn’t they, since he seems so eager to give them what they want in the first place?
Remember back when Obama said that Bush and Cheney should be investigated for war crimes—and then dismissed it once in office? That was pretty damn disappointing, too. All I can think is that perhaps we should make it a law that presidential candidates have to put their promises in writing, as well as online for all to see. These people are working for us, not the other way around, and we should definitely get to change the interview process. It’s pretty hard for us to get jobs with so many vying for so little these days, so why not widen the scope and include politicians?
The PATRIOT Act was set to expire and now we have another four years of unconstitutional fun. I wonder what else is in store, still hanging on the back of a decade-old tragedy that, while still devastating, accomplished what its perpetrators wanted to begin with—to terrorize Americans and affect our way of life forever.