Over the past two days Russell Feingold and Christopher Dodd have led a group in the Senate in setting up enough procedural roadblocks that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been forced to delay a final vote on H.R. 6304 until at least July 7.
This is good. It gives Americans opposed to H.R. 6304 enough time to spread the word about this is bill and its most pernicious aspects — not just to our Senators (many of whom have not read the bill, and who need to receive our phone calls), but also to our friends, our family, our coworkers and our neighbors, who most likely are not aware of this bill’s contents and implications. After all, the newspapers and the TV news are only covering the bill in a superficial fashion.
So yes, we need to write blog posts. But we also need to record podcasts. We need to make videos. And then… we need to go beyond the internet. We need to write the letters to the editors of our local newspapers, because those citizens most likely to call their Senators are the same citizens who read newspapers. We is me plus you. That means you need to write a letter to the editor of your newspaper today.
Here is the text of the letter I just submitted to the Columbus Dispatch, a newspaper with a circulation of more than 350,000:
To the Editor:
Now that the FISA Amendments Act (H.R. 6304) has been passed by the House of Representatives (Dispatch, 6/21), only the Senate stands in the way of this bill becoming the law of the land. In violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, H.R. 6304 permits the White House to spy on anyone’s communications or physically search anyone’s property without a warrant. Your phone calls, your bank records, your e-mails, your car, your office, your home — nothing is off limits, and the White House doesn’t need to establish any cause at all. After one week of surveillance of your phone and physical searches of your home, a judge can finally order the White House to stop — but the White House can keep whatever information it has obtained and use it anyway. Don’t believe me? Google “H.R. 6304” and read this bill yourself.
Do you trust the President with unchecked power to search your communications and your property? Do you believe the Bill of Rights is just a suggestion? If your answer to these questions is “no,” then I urge you to call Senator Sherrod Brown at (202) 224-2315 and Senator George Voinovich at (202) 224-3353. Ask them to vote NO on H.R. 6304.
James M. Cook
Please feel free to use it as a point of inspiration… but please do not cut and paste! That’s called astroturfing, and it is not only ethically problematic but also counterproductive. Using your own words, spread the word on FISA by writing a letter to the editor today.
If twenty people reading this post each write a letter to the editor, and if just ten of those letters are published, we could reach millions of people.
So get to it!