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The Patriot Act

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The Patriot Act

I chose this particular subject because I have been interested for quite some time as to what steps must be taken for a portion of legislature to become law. In fact form the reading I learned that less than 10 percent of bills introduced are passed by Congress and sent to the president for approval or veto (Dye, Sparrow). It is very interesting that no bill can become a law without the approval of both the House and the Senate however there are so many nongovernmental factors that can affect that approval. Issues like party loyalty, pressure from interest groups, or personal values are a few examples. That being said I chose to review the Patriot Act to review.

I would be willing to bet that there are very few Americans that have not heard of the Pa-triot Act. They might not know what it's all about, but they've heard about it. The Patriot Act was initiated in 2001 and extended in 2005. Technically speaking it creates an expansion of the authority of the Attorney General and federal law enforcement to fight domestic terrorism (Dye, Sparrow). Plainly speaking it is a stripping away of individual liberties here in the US all in the name of stopping terrorism. Remember how I stated that less than ten percent of bills pass when introduced to congress; well the Patriot act passed in only six weeks after 9/11. According to the diagram in our text, we are shown that a bill must travel through a series of committees and sub-committees before it even reaches the president for approval or veto. Well this bill passed with a vote of (98 to 1) in the Senate and (357 to 66) in the house an overwhelming show of support from both democrats and republicans (Dye, Sparrow).

So in reality the act of tourist act of 9/11 created the perfect storm for a bill to be passed that has Presidential support and full congressional support. So now CIA and FBI officials are allowed to search areas without notice, initiate wiretaps on suspicious individuals, intercept e-mails, and even obtain information on banking and credit card accounts all in the name of Home Land Security.

Now you might get a hint of skepticism on my part and I will admit that I am a little alarmed. Not because my country wants to protect me from irrational extremist individuals who want to kill me simply because of which side of the world I was born on; for that I am thankful. But I am concerned that with this legislation in place any act can be seen as an issue against Home Land Security. If I became very animated against some governmental policy will I be subject to all types of searches because I am enacting my right to freedom of speech, but I guess we learned that freedom of speech comes with a price itself. My concern is the future, have we given up fought for rights of our own, to protect us from foreigners?

References

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