Al Gore speaks out

November 10th, 2003 – 9:25 pm
Tagged as: Uncategorized

Yesterday Al Gore gave a speech about freedom and security at an event co-sponsored by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy and MoveOn.org.

Nevertheless, I believe the Patriot Act has turned out to be, on balance, a terrible mistake, and that it became a kind of Tonkin Gulf Resolution conferring Congress’ blessing for this President’s assault on civil liberties. Therefore, I believe strongly that the few good features of this law should be passed again in a new, smaller law – but that the Patriot Act must be repealed.

As John Adams wrote in 1780, ours is a government of laws and not of men. What is at stake today is that defining principle of our nation, and thus the very nature of America. As the Supreme Court has written, “Our Constitution is a covenant running from the first generation of Americans to us and then to future genera­tions.” The Constitution includes no wartime exception, though its Framers knew well the reality of war. And, as Justice Holmes reminded us shortly after World War I, the Constitution’s principles only have value if we apply them in the difficult times as well as those where it matters less.

The question before us could be of no greater moment: will we continue to live as a people under the rule of law as embodied in our Constitution? Or will we fail future generations, by leaving them a Constitution far diminished from the charter of liberty we have inherited from our forebears? Our choice is clear.

It makes one wonder why he couldn’t make speeches like this when he was running for President, rather than going the bland and inoffensive DNC route. If he’d actually had some passion then, he might be President right now, even with the nonsense in Florida.

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