You know what irks me the most about yesterday’s Senate vote to reauthorize Patriot Act Provisions without a single, solitary reform?
Oh, there are so many contenders. But right now, what irks me the most about this decision was that it was made without a moment of public debate on the Senate floor, passed by a voice vote.
The decision to pass Patriot Act reauthorization was made outside the regular process of public hearings and legislative debate, in closed-door meetings none of us were privy to. It was a private process that we weren’t granted access to. And a voice vote is a Senate procedure in which Senators don’t have to register their vote on paper; that way, a citizen can’t tell who acted in favor of Patriot Act reauthorization and who acted against it.
What this all boils down to is that in reauthorizing Patriot Act provisions without reform, the U.S. Senate voted to keep American citizens’ private lives nakedly transparent to the prying eyes of the U.S. Government — and did so in a way that will keep senators’ policy deliberations a conveniently private secret. Privacy for the powerful, no privacy for the rest of us. Our nation is a panopticon.