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“This isn’t a partisan issue — this is from Republicans and Democrats, libertarians, conservatives and liberals and everyone in between.”   -- Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI)

There are some issues that conservatives and liberals should be able to unite on. Sure, they may be few and far between, but they do exist. One of those issues should be government surveillance on American citizens. Over the weekend about a thousand of our fellow citizens gathered in Washington, D.C. to protest the overreaching power that has been placed in the hands of the National Security Agency (NSA).

The NSA has been in the news far more often than it should be the last few months, and much of the publicity has been extremely negative. Lately, revelations of spying on the leaders of other nations has taken center stage – but we cannot allow the international intrigue to distract us from the real problem. That problem is the NSA’s unwarranted observation of innocent American citizens.

“The NSA does not have an honorable track record of telling the truth when tracking us without our consent,” whistleblower and former NSA executive Thomas Drake said.

Former Department of Justice employee, Jesselyn Radack, read a statement to the crowd from erstwhile NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

go away nsa“The U.S. intelligence community built a pervasive system of surveillance,” Radack read, noting that every phone call and Internet transaction is recorded by the NSA.

“It’s about power, control and trust in government,” she continued, adding that elected officials were “public servants, not private investigators” to applause. “We declare that mass surveillance has no place in this country. It is time for reform — elections are coming, and we are watching you.”

Michigan Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) was also on hand to fire up the crowd and encourage them to stay active in the fight against the government spying on American citizens.

“[W]hen we were fighting for that Amash amendment and we took to the House floor and had that debate, that was the proudest moment for me as an elected official… We brought Republicans and Democrats together to speak on that amendment. When the vote came down, it was close. It scared people — it scared the establishments in both parties… But let me tell you, the NSA is fighting back. The establishment is fighting back. The NSA wants us to pass CISPA… Thank God for Jim Sensenbrenner, who spoke on the House floor in favor of my amendment, and is now bringing a bill to the House floor, the USA Freedom Act, to undo much of the damage of the PATRIOT  Act… We’ve been working on it, and it’s going to be introduced very soon.”

 

Liberals should be concerned with the NSA domestic spying program because of the inherent civil liberties issues that arise from that kind of intense government surveillance. Conservatives should be concerned with the NSA domestic spying program because of the way it shreds our Constitutional rights – the NSA has singlehandedly trampled the 1st Amendment, the 3rd Amendment, the 4th Amendment and the 5th Amendment. How can conservatives or liberals sit idly by and allow the government to do this?

The government’s domestic spying program is an issue that we need to get together and stand firm on – fighting terrorism is not reason enough for us to give up our most important rights and freedoms.

 

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”    -- Benjamin Franklin, 1775

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