In the last (27 July) entry, I acknowledged a process-driven mechanism for political change (as opposed to a street-level people-powered activist uprising) that might be at work within our constitutional system of checks & balances, despite the egregious insults to that Constitution that our own government has perpetrated. It is, therefore, with some amusement (and more than a little chagrin) I note the passing of the FISA amendment bill by the Senate - with the complicity of 16 Democratic members - and the ire it has inflamed among liberals in the blogosphere . As of this writing, no one seemed clear on what the bill does or does not mean. Some serious students of law are trying to parse the thing (see DClaw1 and Mona at Glenn Greenwald's blog and Balkinization for some current comment). It appears that the bill enables more latitude to spy on citizens in the US by way of loopholes in the legislation resulting from ambiguous language. Balkinization provides this link to a draft of the bill, S1927. Among those uncertain about the intent and effects of the amendment are the Senate members themselves!
Prominent blogger Glenn Greenwald, a former Constitutional Law litigator (see link above), has reacted with uncharacteristic emotion (he's been hanging out at YearlyKos in Chicago - could that have influenced his tone?) and his comment section is also afire with condemnation toward Democrats. There is much talk about third-party candidates and about eschewing voting altogether.
These are not useful ideas.
What we patriots must all remember is that any effort to take back our government from the Republican Authoritarians will take time, patience, and the ability to endure many setbacks. We must devise and deploy a multi-pronged approach to the problem, always keeping in mind (and in our collective back pocket) the possibility of mobilizing masses of concerned citizens asserting our rights. Our Tory enemies have worked hard and long (biding their time, being patient, and enduring setbacks) to achieve their power and they will not give it up without a no-holds-barred fight.
We will ultimately succeed; but to do that, we shall have to persevere.