Last night, we achieved what the conventional wisdom had deemed utterly unfathomable.
There are never any permanent victories in politics — and tonight’s is undoubtedly particularly fragile and must be cradled over days and weeks and months to come.
But the Senate just easily rejected attempts to extend expiring Patriot Act authorities.
No matter what comes next, tonight’s vote against the extension of Section 215 represents a victory for democracy over totalitarianism; for open government over secret law; for reason over hysteria.
Demand Progress and our members have been at at the forefront of efforts to rein in bulk surveillance since just after our organization’s inception four years ago. We have helped organize more than one million actions in opposition to mass spying — including encouraging and facilitating the activism of 250,000 people who support sunsetting Section 215 — over just the last ten days.
This most recent effort has been as part of a broad coalition of organizations, including the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Color of Change, CREDO Action, Daily Kos, Democrats.com, Fight for the Future, Free Press, Left Action, The Nation, The Other 98%, RH Reality Check, RootsAction, and Win Without War.
Now, without further action by the Congress, the authority the NSA exploits to spy on most Americans’ phone calls will expire when the calendar turns to June 1st.
It’s still technically possible for Congress to extend the expiring provisions, but the opportunity grows narrower with each passing day and with each extra person who speaks out against doing so.
We’ll undoubtedly be asking even more of you over the next week or so, as we approach the final hours before sunset. And after that, we’ll ask for even more help to more deeply constrain other forms of illegal and anti-democratic spying.
But for now, take the weekend to relish that you have been part of achieving what seemed impossible just weeks ago.
And then we’ll press on.