Freedom from fear also demands that our liberties and our sense of trust at home be safeguarded. Two hundred and two Septembers after the creation of our Bill of Rights, Attorney General John Ashcroft drafted a document that has eroded our Constitutional rights and broken down the mutual trust between the American people and their government — and between Americans and each other — by making suspects out of all of us.
That is not the act of a patriot.
A true Patriot Act is not born out of fear, but out of trust; it is not born out of division, but out of community; it is not born out of suspicion, but out of faith in each of us.
We need to remind this administration what a Patriot Act is.
A neighbor lends a hand to a friend in need — that is a Patriot Act.
A mother struggles for her children’s future — that is a Patriot Act.
An immigrant becomes a member of our American family — that is a Patriot Act.
Americans come together as a community and as a country to declare their values, their rights, and their very independence — that is a Patriot Act, as it was in 1776 and as it is over two hundred years later and as it will be, through our actions, over two hundred years from now.
Our patriotism is symbolized by our American flag, but our flag only flies because Americans have come together to raise it.
The flag doesn’t belong to John Ashcroft or to any political party or to any person who would use it to intimidate their fellow Americans. It belongs to all of us. Our document of patriotism — signed in September of 1787 — begins with: We, the People.
And it is We, the People, who have the power to change our country.
Steve Gilliard is reading all the convention stories so that you don’t have to. You can get detailed convention aggregate blogging here. And I’m sure my fellow posters will be chiming in with their impressions as well. My thing, this week, is to keep reminding myself (and by extension, all of you) why we’re spending all this time poring over every utterance of people whose approach to public policy makes us want to tear our hair out. It’s funny — I thought I’d be burned out or tired by now, sick of politics and ready for it all to be over. I am sick of the lies of this administration, sick of the blood and the death and the carnage for no reason at all, but I’m not tired of the fight. Not at all.
One of the things I love about y’all is that I know you’re already off your asses, doing stuff. I know you’re not just sitting in your undies hitting refresh on this thing. But if you’re looking for something more to do, deeply good people need your help running for office, organizations could use your hands and your voice, and in your hometown tonight, a streetcorner needs a flashlight, a window needs a candle.