Letters to the Editor

Patriot Act endangers freedom

In February 2004, New York City joined a long list of cities and towns that formally oppose the expanded investigatory powers granted to law enforcement agencies under the USA Patriot Act. Its city council, in chambers only a few blocks from Ground Zero, approved a resolution condemning the law, enacted by Congress six weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“The Patriot Act is really unpatriotic; it undermines our civil rights and civil liberties,” said the council member who sponsored the bill. “We never give up our rights; that’s what makes us Americans.”

On Oct. 25, 2005, the Coupeville Town Council decided not to approve a similar resolution. One council member said, “I don’t feel qualified or comfortable with signing a resolution concerning federal policy.” Another said the council hasn’t been involved in issues that are political and partisan.

“Political and partisan” is as far from the point as anybody can get! This is the act that permits government access to the lists of books we check out of our public libraries, and the one that permits airport screeners to generate “no-fly” lists of names that have even prevented suspicious infants from boarding planes.

As of Oct. 12, 2005, 395 states, counties, and municipalities had signed such resolutions. In Washington, Bainbridge Island, Bellingham, Clallam County, Jefferson County, King County, Olympia, Oroville, Port Townsend, Port Angeles, Riverside, San Juan County, Seattle, Snoqualmie, Tacoma, Tonasket, Tumwater, Twisp, Vashon-Maury Islands, and Whatcom County are among them.

If anyone presents you with a petition to ask your local government leaders to approve a resolution opposing the Patriot Act, please do so. Our freedom is at stake, and any “leaders” worthy of the name should have the gumption to stand up for it.

James M. Bruner

Oak Harbor

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