As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I am all for the War on Terror, but I am increasingly dissatisfied with its domestic ramifications, especially as relates to the erosion of civil liberties under the Patriot Act and the proposed follow up dubbed Patriot Act 2. Equally bad, the Justice Department has now sided with the RIAA in the dreaded Verizon case.
Today, the Washington Post relates that some municipalities are taking amtters into their own hands:
- Arcata [on California’s North Coast] was one of the first cities to pass resolutions against global warming and a unilateral war in Iraq. Last month, it joined the rising chorus of municipalities to pass a resolution urging local law enforcement officials and others contacted by federal officials to refuse requests under the Patriot Act that they believe violate an individual’s civil rights under the Constitution. Then, the city went a step further.
This little city (pop.: 16,000) has become the first in the nation to pass an ordinance that outlaws voluntary compliance with the Patriot Act.
“I call this a nonviolent, preemptive attack,” said David Meserve, the freshman City Council member who drafted the ordinance with the help of the Arcata city attorney, city manager and police chief.
….to date, 89 cities have passed resolutions condemning the Patriot Act, with at least a dozen more in the works and a statewide resolution against the act close to being passed in Hawaii.
“We want the local police to do what they were meant to do — protect their citizens,” said Nancy Talanian, co-director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee in Florence, Mass., which gives advice to citizens groups on how to draft their own resolution.
Although cities across the country passed antiwar resolutions before the attack on Iraq with little notice from the administration, Talanian said that the anti-Patriot Act resolutions are “not quite as symbolic” as those that passed against the war.
“Normally, the president and Congress don’t pay that much attention when it comes to waging war,” she said. “But in the case of the Patriot Act, the federal government can’t really tell municipalities that you have to do the work that the INS or the FBI wants you to do. The city can say, ‘No, I’m sorry. We hire our police to protect our citizens and we don’t want our citizens pulled aside and thrown in jail without probable cause.’ “
It is the unaccountability that bothers me most – I am inclined to trust the government, but I do not want to be FORCED to trust the government because it is not accountable for its actions. I refuse to voluntarily cross the line from the trusting to the stupid – I am pleased others are doing the same.