Democratic voters have done a lot of apologizing for the leaders of their political party this year. The voters admit that Democrats in the Congress and White House haven’t kept their campaign promises, but say that we shouldn’t worry. The Democrats have been busy dealing with a lot of things, they say, and will get around to keeping their promises, later.
That excuse might apply, if one were in a generous mood, to some of the promises have simply not fulfilled. The problem is worse than simple inaction, however. In many cases, the Democrats in the White House and Congress have been actively betraying their promises, undergoing great effort to preserve and even worsen right wing policies created under Republican rule.
One of the promises that Democratic candidates made last year was that, if they could be given control of the White House and Congress, with a veto-proof majority in the Senate, then they would stop the politics of fear, and end the attacks against the Constitution begun by George W. Bush. Over the last month, however, Democrats in the Senate, led by Senator Patrick Leahy, have been moving forward a bill that would extend the most unconstitutional, abusive provisions of the Patriot Act.
Yes, Barack Obama is President, and the Democrats overwhelmingly control Congress, but the agenda of John Ashcroft is still moving forward. What’s more, the Democrats are now using the language of Dick Cheney’s politics of fear: They’re saying that if we don’t agree to sacrifice our constitutional rights, we will be in danger of attack. Will no Democrats take a stand against this betrayal of the promises of 2008?
Not this week. Though the Senate Judiciary Committee approved S. 1692, the bill to extend the attacks against our constitutional rights under the Patriot Act, at the end of last week, not one single Democrat in the Senate could be bothered to rise to the floor of the Senate to utter a word of protest.
Progressive Democrats have been presented with a clear choice. They can:
A) Agree to join their leaders in embracing the Republican politics of fear
B) Speak out clearly to Democrats in the House and Senate that if the Patriot Act’s abuses are extended, progressive support for the Democratic Party will come to an end
Will you allow your silence to be added to the silence of the Senate Democrats?