Trust in government has gone way up in the wake of 911. But the realities of Washington politicking are the same old same-old.
Take the recent anti-terrorism bill, the so-called “USA Patriot Act.” Who could be against that, eh? It has the word “patriot” in the title.
Well, Representative Ron Paul, a Texas Republican, was one congressman who voted against it. He said it was unconstitutional. Paul was especially annoyed by the tactics used to push the bill.
For instance, the vote was taken before members of Congress had seen a final version! In other words, your Representative had no way of knowing exactly what he was voting for before he voted for it which is how controversial items get tucked into lengthy legislation without anybody making a fuss.
The more complex a bill is, the more time lawmakers should have to review it. But as Paul points out, “that’s not the way it works in the Congress. As a matter of fact, it works almost the opposite way. The more complex, especially if controversial, the less likely it is that you’ll get to read it.”
Paul notes that when it came to this particular bill, the political heat was on to get it done, regardless of how. Even so-called “sunset provisions” designed to ensure that controversial government powers would not remain permanent turned out to be a farce.
However you stand on this so-called “Patriot Act,” it’s clear Congress is flying blind. Americans are more ready than ever to trust their leaders. But in the Congress, leaders are hard to find.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.