It’s been another tough year for the Bill of Rights in the US. We spent Bill of Rights day on the road, opting out of the TSA’s abuse of our rights by driving (not flying) from San Francisco to Seattle — so apologies for the lateness of this post.
The National Archives has a great Twitterized version of the Bill of Rights, where each one is reduced to 140 characters or less. Here’s the Fourth Amendment, by @swanroad:
Don’t seize me big bro! or search me, without a warrant
Yeah really. And despite what the Obama Administration wants you to believe, the Fourth Amendment applies at airports too: the naked scanners and enhanced patdowns are unconstitutional. TSA Administrator John Pistole told USA Today that he thinks they’ve pushed the public as far as they can, but I think they’ve miscalculated.
As I wrote last month on I Will Opt Out, imagine a foreign country where the government decided to spend a few billion dollars to install “Rapescan” machines to irradiate travelers and produce detailed nude pictures, and that 2% of travelers would their breasts and genitals groped by government employees. I don’t think the citizens of that country would stand for it … and the grassroots energy from organizations like We Won’t Fly and in forums like FlyerTalk are good indications that Americans won’t either.
I think we’re going to win on this — and the bonds forged in this battle will carry forward to others.
Stepping back and taking a broader look, the interests I talked about in my Constitution Day post continue to align: Wikileaks on the front pages across the world and a great post by Glenn Greenwald on Bradley Manning along with votes on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the DREAM Act. The big privacy and civil liberties organizations is still just dipping their toe into possibilities of social networks (see The Future of Civil Liberties and A grassroots social network activist’s perspective for a lot more on that) so the grassroots are taking the lead. And the theory of change that Shahid Buttar of Bill of Rights Defense Committee lays out in Restoring the Fourth Amendment: How We the People can Win Over Washington remains compelling.
Put it all together, and I’m surprisingly optimistic.
Happy Bill of Rights Day!