The irony runs deep when it comes to Senator Rand Paul and the renewal of the Patriot Act. The staunch defender of the Constitution, Paul spoke out against the law last week, saying it infringed upon civil liberties.
But while discussing his opposition to the bill on a radio show last Friday, he inadvertently called for criminalizing those who attend “radical political speeches”:
“I’m not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they’ve been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they’ve been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn’t be that they are Islamic,” said the Libertarian from Kentucky. “But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after — they should be deported or put in prison.”
Wonder if he counts Tea Partiers in the “radical political speech” category. And as Think Progress points out, “what if someone attended a radical speech as a curious bystander? Should they too be thrown in prison?”
The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Rand Paul, of all people, should know better.