OK - so I never really got over the election, but I did drop my insistence that I was going to claim my Italian citizenship, get a EU passport, and go crash on my aunt's couch in Florence until, well, until this country got its sense back. So I stayed, and hoped, and avoided CNN, FOXNEWS, and anything else that would set me off. Now, however, the person who some refer to as President has made me want to start making travel plans once again. And I tried so hard to blissfully ignorant too.
What's he done this time, you ask? (drum roll please) He actually said that the Patriot Act protects our civil liberties! Ahem...uh, what? I realize the man ain't the brightest fellow in the world, but really, shouldn't one of his aides have told him what the P.A. actually says; what it actually allows? If you want to know, a good place to read about it in plain English is here (an old article, but the law is still the same). Not to mention the effect all this posturing about the act's greatness is having on our less educated folks -- someone actually wrote to NPR to say a librarian should be charged with treason for failing to turn over records demanded under the FBI. Listen here.
And now that its scariest provisions are finally about to expire (thank goddess) here comes the push from the right to renew and expand the damn thing. And too many supposed "liberals" are just sitting there, keeping their mouths shut. Its as if no one even remembers that this glaringly oppressive law was passed 6 weeks after 9-11 before most of the people voting on it had even read the damn thing. OK -- its like 300 pages long, but still -- don't you think reading a law before passing it is always a good idea? Am I the only one?
Don't get me wrong, I hate terrorists as much as the neck red-blooded (read: necked) American, but I don't think giving law enforcement outrageous and unchecked powers is going to help fight terrorists. And I don't understand how anyone can believe that it will. Forcing the Bush's golf buddies (aka Saudis) to turn over persons holed up in their country - now that might help, but the FBI reading my library records won't.
I suppose it is yet possible that there will be real debates about this thing before its gets voted on, but I somehow doubt it. All I know is that I'm going to have to start taking donations because a one way ticket to the motherland is almost two grand and I am not so lucky to be friends with a prince.