DATE: 3/15/2004 08:15:00 AM
Patriot Hysteria - Read this Bangor Daily News story about opposition to the Patriot Act in Maine. Then read it again and examine the reasons behind the opposition. Gerald Oleson has little to offer in his opposition other than speculation and conspiracy theory nonsense. No actual stories of people getting their library reading examined, or getting sought out for special invesigation by the federal government.
A Maine legislator is quoted in the story, saying that after the Oklahoma City bombing, the government didn't "start going around picking up every young white male." No, they didn't. What they did do was investigate the effect that right-wing "hate speech" has on those who listen to it and follow such ideologies. They didn't go after an ethnicity, they went after their political opponents.
The Maine Library Association hates the part of the bill that allows the federal government to look at the records of patrons. Guess how many times this part of the law has been used? Zero.
I'm a political independent who has strong libertarian leanings. I'm not a strong supporter of certain Patriot Act provisions. Still, though, rhetoric like this won't help:
'The Fourth Amendment is gone,' Oleson said, referring to the amendment that protects against unreasonable search and seizure. 'They [federal agents] should have probable cause before they can investigate [people].'If Oleson would take the time to read the act instead of hyperventilating about it, he would discover that probable cause and the approval of a judge is needed before an investigation can begin. Outright lying about the act won't help preserve civil liberties. If Oleson wants his opposition to be effective, it should be grounded in fact, not his fever swamp fantasies of a resurgent McCarthyism.