Before taking office, each member of Congress swears a simple, straightforward oath. It leaves little room for misinterpretation. They vow to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and to "faithfully discharge the duties of the office." High among those duties is paying the government's bills.
Let us amend the federal Constitution to include a definition in its preamble that nails morality in a timely form that is automatically applied to state constitutions, and ask for such a definition with such force that the ensuing discussion becomes a component of our national discourse, and changes the state of our states.
"Thoughtless people," wrote Emerson, "contradict as readily the statement of perceptions as of opinions, or rather much more readily." The leaders and functionaries who in the past twelve years have imposed on the United States a massive system of secret surveillance are best looked on not as betrayers but as thoughtless people. They have forgotten the moral perceptions that were once felt to make the United States a country exemplary for its freedom. The work of this moment is to compel them to see again what people who understand liberty have never failed to see.