Sunday, August 05, 2007

Boyda's profile in courage

Before he became President, John Kennedy wrote a famous book Profiles in Courage. It was probably the first political book I ever read. I remember being impressed that a Kansan was among those profiled. Edmund G. Ross cast the decisive vote that prevented President Andrew Johnson from being impeached. Later, when I connected JFK's go slow stance on civil rights with his selection of Ross, I wasn't so proud. Kansas deserved a better hero.

Regardless of how one feels about PiC or Ross, Kansas had a real political hero last week: Congresswoman Nancy Boyda.

Boyda voted against the FISA bill. 41 House Democrats voted for it. Boyda is among the freshmen Democrats who narrowly won election in 2006. Her seat is one of the top GOP targets for 2008 and it is a district with a military base.

The Bill, S. 1927, the Protect America Act, which authorizes the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence to acquire foreign intelligence of individuals "reasonably believed" to be outside the United States without a court order.

Boyda's statement

Tonight I voted to uphold something near and dear to America - the U.S Constitution. When the President signs this bill, anyone out of the country, including Americans, can have their communications monitored with virtually no oversight. Sadly, the slippery slope of our civil liberties has given way to a mudslide.

"It's never been easy to balance our security and our liberties. Our nation has struggled with this for over 230 years. As Benjamin Franklin said, 'They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.' Tonight our freedoms took a serious blow.

"For the past several weeks, Congress and the Administration worked closely to achieve a bipartisan agreement on foreign surveillance. An agreement was reached that would have provided our nation's intelligence community with the powers it needed while safeguarding the Constitution. But Friday night, at the 11th hour, the Administration effectively eliminated oversight. "

"Over the next six months, we may hear reports of information gathered under this bill. Let me be clear - that same information could have been collected without giving up Constitutional oversight. "

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