A lot is being made of the presidential election this year, as it is every cycle. The way that American society views the Presidency is as the top of American politics and law, where all the final decisions are made. The mainstream media treats the race like a year long circus on parade, where the hubris of politicians compete to make the best case for savior of the human race. Nobody likes Congress because of the political theater and partisan dysfunction, which leads many to often look to the President to stand above the fray, with either leadership or force.
But the presidency never changes. Time and time again, whether it be neoconservatives under the Bush Administration or progressives under the Obama Administration, policy doesn’t steer away from big government. Power naturally expands, not contracts.
For this reason, Congress is important.
Congressman Justin Amash has established himself as one of the leading advocates for liberty not only in the House of Representatives, but all of Congress itself. He is a transparent official who posts regularly about his votes on social networking platforms and discusses why he votes the way he does. In addition to this, he regularly interacts with people and engages them regarding issues important to our time.
He is now sounding the alarm on a new threat to liberty.
While the country is busy protesting and politicking, Congress attempted to expand the USA PATRIOT Act again while nobody is looking. H.R. 5606, “Anti-terrorism Information Sharing Is Strength Act” would have expanded Section 314. Whereas the Patriot Act currently limits use to terrorist or related money laundering activities, the proposed legislation would have expanded to include “specified unlawful activity.” The proposed legislation would have allowed for greater information sharing, allowing realistically anything unlawful to have the Patriot Act applied to it.
Fortunately, largely due to Congressman Amash’s opposition, the legislation failed.
But the failure of H.R. 5606 is only a small victory, because it still leaves the possibility for it to arise again. Congress has been exploring greater expansions of government recently to respond to terrorism or alleged terrorist connections. One example is House Democrats wanting to use terrorist watchlists to deprive constitutional rights.
Much of America won’t notice the legislation, know the implication it would have had, or even the problems with the Patriot Act legislation. Instead, the country is locked into a political duel between a bombastic and controversial businessman and a careless politician who barely escaped an indictment. But it’s for this reason more people should be paying attention to Congress. It’s difficult for the President to do things unnoticed, because the office is considered the major league level of politics.
But time and time again, Congress attempts to sneak in legislation by unnoticed votes, attaching provisions to unrelated legislation, or moves in late night sessions. The tricks that leadership will go to over the years are creative, but dirty. Congressman Amash is one of a number of legislators liberty has at the federal level, but no matter how loud these voices are, they’re still a minority in Congress.
It’s time for America to focus on Congress, replace the bad members and elect strong, pro-liberty members. We may not be so fortunate next time something like H.R. 5606 comes up. Make this year count.