“There is danger from all men.”

John Adams continues: “The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.”

This was going to be the first year I donated money to a political candidate. The movement of this country’s national politics has become more frightening by the week, and I thought that adding campaign money to my advocacy might be another method for changing that. I was going to contribute to my national Congressional races and to that for the Presidency.

Today’s FISA capitulation, to be frank, knocked me on my tail and made me reconsider. Over the last several months I’ve called, written, and persuaded several friends to do the same. I watched politicians who had stated they would support blocking retroactive immunity for law-breaking companies turn tail and vote for this bill, a bill better for the Executive than the previous FISA bill. I’ve heard some say that voting for the bill was politically wise, a CYA move to show strength against “the terrorists” for the upcoming elections. I do not disagree; I do believe, though, that civil liberties and national security are not at odds with one another, and that true leadership should demonstrate this.

I’ve now spent much of the day reconsidering my upcoming donations. Where is the leadership standing up for constitutional protections? Where is the leadership standing in opposition to torture, kidnapping, and undermining our image worldwide? There were voices leading in the Senate and House, but they had too few friends to prevent this travesty of a bill from passing. So, I’ve decided that I’m still going to donate money, but not to whom I had planned. I’m going to see if I can get Dodd and his like some more friends.

To every Senator and Presidential candidate who failed to support the three amendments today, to every Representative who voted for H.R. 6304: you’ve made yourself an opponent. Here’s what I will do:

  • I will not donate any money to your campaigns.
  • I will donate money to your opponents in primaries and, if you generally vote in ways I don’t like, general elections.
  • I will lobby my friends and associates to do the same; given that they generally have a limited budget, I’m willing to bet that means less money for you, too.
  • Provided you’re an otherwise reasonable politician, I will not speak ill of you, but I will refrain from speaking of you. You’ve just lost a persuasive advocate.

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