Justin Amash attacks the NSA with a curve ball

July 26th, 2013

You know, prior to 9/11 the very existence of the NSA was the stuff of conspiracy theory. We used to call it “No Such Agency” because if you talked about people acted like you were talking about Men In Black or being followed by black helicopters. The idea of a domestic spy ring was viewed as too tyrannical to exist. It would never happen in America. A decade later these spooks are an open secret, and no one in Congress seems surprised or concerned… except for Justin Amash.

This week the House voted down an attempt to reign in the unrestrained power of the NSA’s bulk surveillance program. It was a loss for liberty and privacy in America, but some want to construe it as a symbolic victory. This late in the game I think we better start winning some actual victories, because symbols have never halted the march of tyranny in history.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) proposed an amendment to the House’s defense authorization bill that would hamstring the NSA’s ability to gather telephone metadata. It was voted down. Meaning the House of Representatives, thought by many to be the most directly representative body in government, ignored the overwhelming will of the People. And even if it had made it into the bill, it would have been removed again by the Senate, or vetoed by the President. I don’t see this as any kind of a victory. I view it as a humiliating defeat. An overkill. If Liberty and Tyranny were in a boxing match Liberty would be a Sheldon Cooper and Tyranny would be Bane. And just in case Tyranny get’s tired, it gets to tap in Oppression, and Subjugation just in case.

Amash deserves credit for fighting, and so does his co-sponsor John Conyers (D-Mich.). But at some point, don’t you have to admit defeat? Ron Paul showed us the Presidency is in the pocket of Tyranny. Rand Paul has now shown us that the Senate is no friend of Liberty. And now Amash has demonstrated that the House or Representatives is content to watch freedom die.

Even the media is complacent. In all the reporting Amash’s amendment is referred to as “defiant” or “controversial.” I thought mass surveillance by the NSA was controversial. Isn’t that why the State wants Edward Snowden dead? For telling us what the government was doing to us.

If there’s any hope to be gleaned from this story it’s that the vote scrambled ideological lines. Amash a Republican partnered with Conyers a Democrat. And after a heated debate on the floor the votes were scattered. The amendment was defeated 205-217. So in the end, it was just a way to blow off steam.

So, in a few short years we went from the NSA doesn’t exist, to the NSA is recording everything, to limiting the NSA is controversial, oh and by the way… impossible. Great.

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About the Author: Davi Barker

In grade school Davi refused to recite the pledge of allegiance because he didn't understand what it meant. He was ordered to do as he was told. In college he spent hours scouring through the congressional record trying to understand this strange machine. That's where he discovered Dr. Ron Paul. In 2007 he joined the End The Fed movement and found a political home with the libertarians. The Declaration of Independence claims that the government derives its power “from the consent of the governed." He does not consent.