Dear Speaker Pelosi:
I cannot fathom why you would think it wise on any level to grant more power to those who have already so abused it, but since you are bent on enabling the imperial presidency, let me just remind you of something: There is nothing wrong with the FISA law that the impeachment of Dick Cheney cannot resolve. We, the public know this. More importantly, we the press know that giving the President more surveillance power is not only un-Constitutional, it is also a direct and full frontal assault on dissent. Or did you actually think that Karl Rove and his new spy toy are going to go looking for Osama bin someone?
I know you are eager to get to your month long, paid vacation - something our soldiers do not get and something the voting public does not get either. But if you are going to leave the country unsupervised while you are gone, the least you can do is not pass something as serious as an expansion of surveillance powers for the Decider just so you can exit quickly.
Ms. Pelosi, you have said that you are working to reach an agreement with the White House sometime this week. Pray tell, what is it that you need to agree to that will justify anything this administration promises in exchange? You have already taken impeachment off the table, something you have no right or authority to do, as your oath of office should remind you on a daily basis. But you have unilaterally decided that no matter what the public wants, it is your opinion that is important, when in fact your opinion means nothing outside your duty.
Instead of going on a vacation, you should be babysitting Congressional chambers so that this duplicitous administration does not make any more recess appointments, such as, perhaps, a new Attorney General?
You should be on the House floor daily to make sure that a deranged mad-man you refuse to remove from office does not launch an illegal war against yet another country. You should be investigating if and why a Democratic governor, Don Siegelman, was really framed by the Rove machine - as many people believe - in order to make room for the White House sanctioned candidate in Alabama. You did read the letter of 44 former state attorneys generals demanding that Congress investigate why Siegelman was imprisoned?
Or were you otherwise busy drafting the more-power-to-the-decider law instead of sparing this man from having to endure one more day of false imprisonment? You should be working day and night to set right what is still wrong in New Orleans.
You should be demanding to know what happened to over $9 billion dollars of OUR money gone missing under this administration in Iraq, a sizable amount that no Executive Branch official can "recall" and something Congress appears to be barely interested in locating.
You should be doing something, anything but going on vacation. In short, you should be the leader that you were elected to be.
Instead, your last concern before you head off on a month long vacation is how to best compromise with this administration on something as sacrosanct as OUR rights and liberties. No. We have compromised enough and we go no further.
Who are we? Just in case you don't know:
-Every single person who emails me daily begging me for hope and faith - as though I could in any way provide something so important by myself.
-Every single person who begs me to take on their cause, like Don Siegelman's daughter, who is desperate for me to do what I have no power to do: set him free.
-Every single person like my cousin, who was picked up under Operation Return to Sender - Alberto Gonzales' idea of a political joke in addressing illegal immigration - in which hundreds upon hundreds of legal residents have been thrown into overcrowded prisons, people piled on top of people, warehoused for profit of privatization.
-Every single American who was denied their right to vote and continues to be the target of this administration because of the color of their skin.
-Every single person, including me, who cannot afford health insurance and has to suffer not only a serious disease but also the humiliation of having to explain why I deserve to live to a random stranger who happens to get my call at corporate Pharma HQ.
-Every single person who has watched Congress give itself a pay-hike while they have been stripped of their most basic rights.
-Every single person who cannot speak for themselves because they died at Ground Zero, either through the negligence of this administration before the attacks of September 11, 2001 or because of the criminal conduct by this administration and its cronies in declaring the air safe to breath when they knew it was poison.
-Every single American who knows the nation was lied into a war for profit and that American lives continue to be destroyed for political games between the Democrats and Republicans.
-Every single person who has been terrorized by this administration and their color coded political dirty tricks for the last seven years
-Every single person who does not want a corrupt, arrogant, and power hungry administration to tap our phones, cull our emails, and spy on us because they fear us more than they care about the terrorists they claim to be fighting.
Your compromise with the decider is far too much for this nation to have to tolerate. Allowing any such compromise to even come to the floor for a vote indicates that you are still of the belief that the administration wants to work with Congress - when in fact, they have nothing but contempt for you. In my opinion, Ms. Pelosi, you giving the Decider even more power to abuse is tantamount to declaring war on the public and the press, something that is impossible to keep silent about.
In our brave new America, Ms. Pelosi, the "good American" is someone who asks no questions, supports the President and his war, and hates whomever the scapegoat is. Anyone not part of this definition is called a terrorist or a terrorist sympathizer. Members of Congress have run from such narrow definitions, passed laws because of such narrow definitions, and failed their country and their own conscience in order to avoid being called a name or made into a talking point. Weak on terror, does that sound familiar to you? How about cut and run? Sound familiar yet? Are these the types of compromises we will continue to see because people have become so afraid of not being the "good American?"
By this definition, I am not and will never be a good American and that is something that I am very comfortable with, for the same reasons that I would be comfortable not being the good German during WWII or the good Italian during WWII. And I don't mind the name-calling at all. Why do you and your colleagues then care what labels are affixed to you when the moral argument is on your side of the isle?
No, I cannot hope to be anything before I first try being a good human being and I cannot hope to be a good human being and continue to witness this massive failure of Congressional oversight as the rest of us - the majority of us - watch in horror as our rights, liberties, money, and even loved ones are one by one stripped away from us.
I would not have been a good German under the Nazi regime, Ms Pelosi. My parents were not good Soviets under the Soviet regime and I am sure as hell not going to be the current version of a good American now. But if you were to ask about the definition of my Americanism, I would tell you to simply look at your own oath of office. There you will find my America.
Like you, I actually had to take an oath, but unlike you, my promise was given for the mere privilege of becoming a US citizen. Unlike most Americans, who never have to make that kind of pledge, I had to take an oath just to have the same rights that so many take for granted. Your oath was taken to uphold the same principles that I had to swear to uphold. Moreover, you took your oath as a public servant, while took mine as simply a citizen of this nation.
I took my oath seriously and because I have taken it so seriously, I cannot stand by and watch silently while you shred the Constitution for reasons that are unclear but are irrelevant in any case.
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
I am honoring my oath of citizenship, Ms. Pelosi, are you honoring your oath of office?
You were not elected to expand the power of the Decider, and should you agree on a compromise to make legal that which you know is un-Constitutional, and thereby enable this administration to continue its abuses, you need not bother coming back after your vacation.
We don't need more enablers in an already compromised Congress. What we need are people who actually care, even if just a little bit, about the rest of US - the country and the Constitution.
So I ask you, please, do not grant more power to those who have already so abused the power that they have been granted.
A US Citizen, a Jew, a woman, an Immigrant, and a journalist.