I've been meaning to post an homage to old Russ, but Kelly Vlahos did it for me in topical fashion:
Long before there was Jeffrey Goldberg hyping "dignity" for air travelers, and Charles Krauthammer declaring that don't "touch my junk" is the "anthem of the modern man, the Tea Party patriot," there was Sen. Russell Feingold of Wisconsin.
Since this week is about giving thanks, I'd like to begin by expressing gratitude for Democratic Sen. Feingold, one of the few politicians on the national stage who gave a damn about individual rights and liberty before it was so fashionable to do so.
Vlahos quotes Feingold's floor statement before the vote on the PATRIOT Act.
"Some have said rather cavalierly that in these difficult times we must accept some reduction in our civil liberties in order to be secure.
"Of course, there is no doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be easier to catch terrorists. If we lived in a country that allowed the police to search your home at any time for any reason; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to open your mail, eavesdrop on your phone conversations, or intercept your email communications; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to hold people in jail indefinitely based on what they write or think, or based on mere suspicion that they are up to no good, then the government would no doubt discover and arrest more terrorists.
"But that probably would not be a country in which we would want to live. And that would not be a country for which we could, in good conscience, ask our young people to fight and die. In short, that would not be America."