Okay, I bitch enough when democracy doesn't work like it's supposed to. So hats off to Senator Russ Feingold, who was the sole guy who voted against the Patriot Act back in the hot and heavy days of crisis and has now managed to assemble a coalition of Democratic AND Republican Senators to stop the Patriot Act from automatically renewing and force debate on the issue. The Administration just wanted the whole thing approved, part and parcel, without discussion.
You'll note that they're not tossing the Act out the window. All Feingold's coalition wants to do is take the time to debate the specific provisions of the law that they believe may violate basic Constitutional rights and civil liberties. That's right, this guy had to pull off a miracle to get the Senate to DEBATE AND EXAMINE A LAW. Which is, in theory, their goddam job.
The Administration is reportedly disturbed that the Senate has stopped being a rubber stamp.
Predictable response all 'round, of course, from those who think the Senate's job, all our jobs, are to be a rubber stamp for the heroic Executive Branch of the government. I cannot repeat enough times how much I despise the fact that these so-called patriots completely ignore the way the democracy they scream and crow about is supposed to work.
Quick primer: There is supposed to be debate. The Senate is supposed to advise and consent. Judges are supposed to examine laws critically. This means the country is working.
The bits you love, when the President -- any President -- gets to do whatever the hell he wants: that's a bad thing.
There's a reason democracy scared the crap out of people when the Revolutions started, and it wasn't just the loss of First Night privileges. It's alway, always just a fine step away from the unknown, when we plebes have to figure stuff out rather than having the Good King tell us what to do. It always, subtly, psychologically works right on the edge of the abyss. Democracy is anarchy, baby, with the torches and pitchforks just stowed in the coat room ... for now. Democracy and debate and doubt are terrifying.
You want to feel safe? Fine, go seek shelter in the shadow of your King, who knows no doubt. He'll tell you what to do, who the Enemy is, and you'll no longer need to burden yourself with questions. Who needs thought when you have dogma? Ignorance is a virtue, doubt is a sin, and we can all just shuffle along watching the rich folk do the hard work of passing laws and making policy. After all, They Know Best.
You gave it up. All those people fought and bled and died and you tossed aside what they fought for -- your right to debate, to question -- because the Bad Brown People SCARED YOU.
I wish I could come up with a word stronger than disgust.