Kolin contends that “the Patriot Act’s…provisions, in many ways are meant to replace the Constitution” (Kolin, chapter 5, p.144). Indeed, this act allows excessive monitoring of Americans who may or may not know they are being watched. The Act allows the Government to monitor records of Internet use, utilize roving phone taps, and monitor private records of individual participants of legal, legitimate protests. Accordingly, this is indeed a breach of the First and Fourteenth Amendments, as Americans are losing rights to privacy and rights to free speech.
It is argued that the Act minimizes the system of checks and balances between the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government, by giving too much power to the executive branch. The executive branch has increased authority when search and surveillance powers are given to domestic and foreign law enforcement agencies. Surely, this whole act appears to be some ploy to consolidate power, not only in other countries but also here in America. Some critics do not believe that the war on terrorism is about protecting civil liberties, as it is about infiltrating new markets under the pretense of benevolence. Kinzer speaks to this point when he asserts that “for more than a century, Americans have believed that they deserve access to markets and resources in other countries…[and] Americans… persuade themselves that they are acting out humanitarian motives” (Kinzer, chapter 14, p. 316). It appears that as long as Americans believe that they are on the side of righteousness the horrors they dispense upon the world will have no end. Certainly this was the case during the Iraq War in 2001. Though “no evidence whatsoever indicated that Saddam Hussein had been involved in the [9/11] attacks… [America] immediately called for action against Iraq” (Atwood, chapter 11, p. 222). In effect, no matter how trumped up the charges were the American public sheepishly followed suit and concluded that their leaders were doing what was right.
Despite the fact that the Patriot Act is too large and complex, and that it was constructed in a rush shortly after the September 11th attacks in 2001, the goal then was to put legislation into place quickly in order to help ensure the prevention of additional terrorist attacks. However, since then numerous U.S. communities have debated in town hall and city council meetings as to whether or not the Patriot Act violates civil liberties. Resolutions stating an opposition to the Patriot Act have been passed in many communities in different states according to the ACLU. Yet in spite of these debates, the Patriot Act is now back in effect and many of the provisions in the ACT apply to all situations, not only those involving terrorist crimes. Now more than ever it seems that America is going the way of becoming a police state, and now citizens have to fight to harder today to save the future of their rights.
About the Author: President George W. Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act, previously passed by the first session of the 107th United States Congress, into law on October 26, 2001.
The United States Congress established the USA PATRIOT Act (Patriot Act) to improve the capabilities of law enforcement agents to prevent terror attacks, and to more effectively investigate and prosecute terrorists and would be terrorists. USA PATRIOT, is an acronym for, "Uniting and Strengthening America by…