Stolen from Obama_Daily:
As the Bush Years wind down I think it’s important to remember the times people did stand up.This is one of my favorite political speeches of all time. I read it every now and then just to remind myself what righteous fury sounds like:
In these times—under a president who seems every
more day intent on acting as if he is the law, who grants himself the
right to ignore legislation, who claims the power to spy without a
warrant, to imprison without a hearing, to torture without a scruple—in
these times, I would be a fool to take his offer.
“trust me,” says President Bush. He means it literally. When he first
asked Congress to make the telecoms’ actions legally disappear,
Congress had a reasonable question for him: Can we at least know
exactly what we’d be immunizing? Can you at least tell us what we’d be
the president refused to answer. Only he, his close advisors, and a
handful of telecom executives know all of the facts. Congress is only
asked to give token oversight.
if we are to do our Constitutionally-mandated job, we need more than
token oversight; we need full hearings on the terrorist surveillance
program before the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees.
Without that, we remain in the dark—and in the dark we’re expected to grant the president’s wish, because he knows best.
Does that sound familiar to any of my colleagues?
2002, we took the president’s word and voted to go to war on faulty
intelligence. What if we took his word again—and found, next year or
the year after, that we had blindly legalized grave crimes?
this disastrous war has taught us anything, it is that the Senate must
never again stack such a momentous decision on such a weak foundation
of fact. The decision we’re asked to make today is not, of course, as
immense. But between fact and decision, the disproportion is just as
So I rise
in determined opposition to this unprecedented immunity and all that it
represents. I have served in this body for more than a quarter-century.
I have spoken from this desk hundreds and hundreds of times. I have
rarely come to the floor with such anger.
since I came to Washington, I have seen six presidents sit in the White
House—and I have never seen a contempt for the rule of law equal to
this. Today I have reached a breaking point. Today my disgust has found
don’t expect every one of my colleagues to share that disgust, or that
limit. I wish they did—but had that been the case, we would never have
come to this point.
I only ask them to believe me when I say if I did not speak today, my conscience would not let me rest.