From health care reform, to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s hard not to feel like the progressive wave that swept Democrats into power a year ago has lost a great deal of momentum. Civil liberties groups in particular have felt abandoned by the administration as the Department of Justice struck deal after deal to preserve Bush era policies such as warrantless wiretaps, the use of the state-secrets privilege, and the continuation of military tribunals. By many measures this has been a bleak start to a promising administration.
But if you think hope is lost, if you believe change can’t come, think again. A dogged group of activists, from libertarians to lefties has come together to petition the administration to take real, serious, and substantial steps in undoing the constitutional desecration of the Bush administration. And given their track record, there’s no reason to think these efforts won’t get noticed.
In July 2008 the group Get FISA Right sent an open letter to President Obama taking him on directly over the issues of transparency and accountability of executive authority. Harnessing the power and influence of social media Get FISA Right created a cross-pollinated coalition of citizens concerned about civil liberties infractions, The President not only received the letter, he responded. The group’s strategy and the President’s response was picked up by mainstream media outlets like Time, The New York Times, and CNN. Not to shabby for a bunch of internet activists.
As I’ve tracked here at Care2, key provisions of the PATRIOT Act are set to expire at the end of the year. While the bill that ultimately came out of committee was not as change-inducing as many had hoped, all hope is not lost. The Get FISA Right group has once again petitioned the President to eradicate key troublesome provisions such as the Lone Wolf provisions, sneak and peak, and the abusive use of National Security Letters.
You can do your part to. Get FISA Right has created another open letter to President Obama. This time they have partnered with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee who is hosting the letter. Click here, sign the letter, sign the Care2 petition, and let President Obama know that nothing short of transparency and accountability counts for change you can believe in.
photo courtesy of violentz via Flickr