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From Small Beginnings

I don’t want to make too much of of the recent House vote preventing a fast-track renewal of the Patriot Act. One could argue the number of switches on the Democratic side of aisle was just as important as the eight GOP freshmen members who voted against it. It was hardly a Tea Party rebellion.

But what it does show is that more and more members of Congress are actually going to do their jobs and decide on their own how to vote–rather than being rubber stamps for either the White House or the one party’s Congressional leadership. Hopefully that was something Tea Partiers wanted out of their new members of Congress. There’s also no question that there are more Republicans in Congress who are as much against the survelliance state and the military-industrial complex as they are against the welfare state. While this is still a handful of the GOP caucus, it has growth potential so long as such members are supported and applauded in the media and by activists for their independence, and if they believe they will suffer no adverse political consequences from their districts or states. To grow this caucus, it will also be important for bloggers, columnists and opinion magazines like TAC to continue to point out to those freshmen in Congress and other politicians and ordinary voters that there is only one state, not different “states” one can support with earmarks and pork barrel spending and unconstitutional wars–and another to criticize and continuously call for cuts.

It was a liberal Democrat who put it so well in the debate in the House:  “Look at the ‘Don’t Tread on Me flag.’ It doesn’t say don’t tread on me, but it’s okay if you spy,” This point needs to be repeated again and again and again. Hopefully more politicians in both parties come to agree with it and form a powerful bloc of anti-state, antiwar, and decentralist members of Congress.

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#2 Comment By Fred Stanton On February 14, 2011 @ 9:54 am

Please take a look at Ron Paul’s 2011 CPAC address. It has been ages since I last heard such a thoughtful, reasoned address by a polician; the sections on civil liberties will especially appeal to Mr. Scanlon. I believe a third party run by Rep. Paul would draw heavy support from both Republicans and Democrats looking for a principled alternative to our current tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum parties.

#3 Comment By OpelQuairy On February 14, 2011 @ 3:09 pm

Cause for hope,but there aren’t enough of them yet. Americans of every (or no) party need to elect more Tea Partiers and/or more principled liberals in each of the next 3 or 4 elections.

The imperial security state is responsible for at least half of the colossal debt that is destroying us. And it hasn’t made us safer. It has made us more hated abroad and strips us of dignity and liberty at home. It has become a commonplace among sane people that we can’t afford to be the world’s policeman anymore, but we also can’t turn every other American into a cop here at home – the neocon equivalent of the old Soviet practice of making a political prisoner’s family pay for the bullet used to execute him.

#4 Comment By MattSwartz On February 14, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

My (almost entirely suffocated) inner optimist thinks we’re headed into another era like the 1960’s, where the ideological differences within the two major parties are again more important than those between them.

If that happens, then maybe we can have a real national conversation about some of these issues, rather than getting the sort of echo chamber we’ve had recently.

And why not think like this? Pessimism is just as much a luxury as optimisim.