Thank you for your response. I’m pleased to see that you understand the issue, and if this remains your position, you have my continuing support. That doesn’t mean I’m not still extremely angry with you and with the rest of congress, and with the executive branch that I worked very hard to elect.
Most of your letter is true, most of it has been known for at least several weeks, some was at least suspected for several years. But one sentence is glaring in its falsehood:
“Like you, these revelations leave me shocked, disturbed and eager to get to work on new measures that will restore an appropriate balance between legitimate national security needs and the Constitutionally protected rights of all Americans.”
Your “like you” assumption is correct. I’m shocked and I behaved like someone who is shocked. I’m a lifelong Democrat active in the political process. When this began I was on the fundraising mailing lists of at least a hundred politicians, most of them “progressive.”
Immediately I began to unsubscribe. If the politician simply says nothing about this I deem they think it is unimportant and I unsub quietly. If they endorse the official position of the legislative and executive branch leadership, as our Senator Nelson has done, I unsub and tell them why. They will not get any money from me at election time. If I’m their constituent, they may not get my vote either.
Somebody who is shocked and eager to get to work doesn’t refuse to comment publicly for weeks, while dressing up as a patriot to read the declaration of independence (from a country subjecting us to overbroad searches). They don’t run a poll to determine what their constituents think withholding their own view until the results are tabulated.
Your version of shock over the disclosures is Captain Renault’s shock in Casablanca, forced to officially denounce the gambling tables he was sitting at moments before.
But you may be shocked at something else: shocked at how the guidance from your own congressional leadership has created a sudden coalition between the far left that booed Nancy Pelosi and the libertarian right who sees this as a quick read for the dangers of big government. Then when the trends suggested trouble for the party line we saw character assassination of the leaker and fearmongering that without looking up everybody’s dress we’d suffer terrorist attacks.
I’m sorry to be so blunt, but don’t get caught flat footed on the next one the way you did here. If you’re truly outraged, then support the guy who told you the truth and at least allow Edward Snowden to be treated with the same prosecutorial respect that Daniel Ellsburg was when he told us the truth four decades ago. And suggest to John Kerry that forcing another country’s presidential plane down will have international consequences the American people do not want.
If you want a poll to tell you that, consider that Mr. Snowden’s approval rating for his act is about 17 points higher than President Obama’s approval rating for his response. As a relatively freshman congressman, you can lead against your political bosses in Congress who are wrong and caught in their previous lies.
You need to do it for your own political career, for the future of our party, but most important for the future of our nation and the fourth amendment.