An amendment to the Patriot Act offered by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) to the Patriot Act was defeated in the House of Representatives on Thursday by a vote of 217-205. The amendment would have curbed the ability of the National Security Agency to collect and hold metadata of Americans’ phone calls for five years. The vote was a defeat for those Americans who fear that government surveillance of our lives has eroded our privacy and liberty, and a victory for those who believe that Americans should sacrifice all of our constitutional and natural liberties in order to prevent another terrorist attack. Representatives such as John Boehner are quick to point out that the program has prevented countless terrorist attacks, although people who make this claim are unable to provide specifics. The information we have suggests that the number is relatively small and that other attacks have been prevented by means other than those of Section 702 or Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
The defeat of the Amash amendment has far broader implications than merely whether the government should have unbridled access to our e-mails, texts, conversations, and movements. The vote allows us to get a glimpse into the machine that operates behind the scenes in Washington, a machine that is neither Democrat nor Republican but one that is hellbent on establishing a police state in America, broadening our global military empire, and destroying what little is left of our great Constitution. When the machine is threatened, its members immediately shed their respective party masks and coalesce to shut down those who seek to defend privacy and liberty. This is a secret society of representatives and senators from both political parties who keep their real agenda hidden from plain view.
Therefore, what seems to the novice political observer to be an odd coming together of liberals and conservatives, from Nancy Pelosi to Michelle Bachmann, actually reveals that both are part of a front that is united on key issues. The political machinations that take place on daily basis are designed to deflect our attention from the more serious, and sinister, deliberations taking place in the bowels of the Capitol. Members of Congress who are part of a secret political society in Washington, one that is designed to thwart the Constitution and expand government power, participate in the charade of Democrat versus Republican in order to keep the masses confused. Yet, in some ways, the defeat of the Amash amendment was a small victory for those who value liberty and privacy, for it briefly shattered our conventional thinking about politics as being about left-right, Democrat-Republican, or liberal-conservative. When we stop trying to understand American politics through these prisms, we are on our way to better knowing the beast that seeks to destroy us.