As Wisconsinites, we have a Senator who has led the charge for our Constitution. Senator Russ Feingold has taken a fierce and courageous stand against the White House's attempt to make the seriously Constitutionally flawed PATRIOT ACT worse. He's also the only Senator who had the foresight and courage to oppose the original PATRIOT ACT, and has become a Nationwide underground grassroots hero because of it.
Also as Wisconsinites, we have a Congressman who is one of the most powerful Congressmen in the House as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and who used to be a civil libertarian. Cong. Sensenbrenner is now fiercely standing with the White House to hand them their every dictatorial hope and dream. He is front and center on the Senate House Conference Committee's attempts to find a compromise and has the power to do the right thing, but so far has chosen a blinded path.
Wisconsin is a maverick state with maverick progressive politicians (LaFollette, Proxmire, Nelson to name a few of my heroes), and even a history of maverick conservatives (who could forget Sen. Joe McCarthy). Maverick Libertarian Ed Thompson didn't do too badly a few years ago either.
We are a bit schizophrenic in our voting habits and have a real affinity for those politicians who have the courage to do what's right over towing the party line...especially when the party line is crooked.
Feingold won about 59% of the Wisconsin vote last year because he stands on principle. We like that even if we don't always agree (Ashcroft?).
Sensenbrenner used to be that type of legislator, he was even at one time, a bit of a civil libertarian, and it kept him in office for decades. Well no more, Sensenbrenner's now firmly lock and step with his party and leading the charge to tear apart the Constitution even more.
I am his constituent and I went to a Town Hall he held last summer. I specifially asked Sensenbrenner about the PATRIOT Act. This is nearly verbatim how our conversation went:
ME: I have not always been in your district, but I've always been in SE WI and the one thing I have always thought was that you were a civil libertarian.
Sensenbrenner: I AM A CIVIL LIBERTARIAN, I AM A CIVIL LIBERTARIAN. (he was actually shouting this) Why do you think I pushed to have the Sunsets put in the bill in the first place? I knew then there were very serious Constitutional issues, but we haven't gotten any complaints or court rulings that state otherwise, so I'm still working on the issue...
Me: I want to know Mr. Sensenbrenner, when you have to make a decision between the civil libertarian in you who knows the Constitution and has always stood up to protect it, and the strong arm tactics of your party trying to make these sunsets you say have concerns about permanent, are you going to stand with the Constitution and people who voted for you because of your independence or are you going to cave to your party's dictates?
He never answered the question at the time, but his answer is loud and clear now...
I've provided some info below, but I have significantly more on the showdown that literally has Feingold squared off against Sensenbrenner head to head as the two most prominent National figures in the PATRIOT Act debate: the former fighting valiantly to restore the integrity of our Constitution, the latter fighting just as hard to chip more away from our Bill of Rights at the beck and call of the President.
I want to note that if you read the info below, you will see that the Fix the PATRIOT Act movement is strongly bi-partisan in nature. In other words, other conservatives have chosen to say enough is enough and have stood with our Bill of Rights while the supposed civil libertarian in WI 5th CD has stood up against our Constitution.
And you were mad when I called Wisconsin schizophrenic in their voting...
It's not too late. Call your reps and tell them your opinion!
Wednesday, December 14, 2005 is the expected day of the vote.
Thursday, December 15, 2005 is National Bill of Rights Day. Call today to make sure we still have a document we can celebrate!Renee
"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security" Ben Franklin
From the ACLU:
This week, the long-expected showdown over the Patriot Act may begin -- and end -- on the floor of Congress. The bipartisan outcry for real reform has never been stronger, but your phone calls are urgently needed today, to urge your Senators to stand fast and oppose
the flawed bill now headed for a vote.
The Bush Administration has strong-armed lawmakers into re-drafting a final Patriot Act bill that fails to protect the privacy of innocent Americans or restore checks and balances stripped out in the original Patriot Act.
A bipartisan group of Senators have said they will filibuster any reauthorization bill unless
it contains key reforms to protect our civil liberties. Pick up your phone right now and tell your Senators to vote against cloture, support the filibuster and oppose any Patriot Act authorization bill that does not that does not include real reforms.
The courageous Senators vowing to filibuster the reauthorization bill - John Sununu (R-NH), Larry Craig (R-ID), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Ken Salazar (D-CO) need to be thanked for taking a principled stand for freedom and urged to hold their ground. Please call now.
Go to http://action.aclu.org/call to call now. Or, read more about this critical moment in the fight to reform the Patriot Act before taking action. Then, after calling, be sure to tell your friends.
Thank you for all that you do.
Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office