They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither…

This is perhaps one of the most famous (and perhaps overused) quotes of the very, very quotable Benjamin Franklin. I admit – I am a bit of a Franklin devotee, which means I have at least one thing in common with the Tea Party. Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I think that means, by some mathematical law, everything he ever said must be honored and followed by any card-carrying member of the Tea Party. Besides, they loved the Gadsden Flag, based on his “Join or Die” cartoon.

This quote probably applies to the PATRIOT Act more than any other political issue of our day – the Act was as clear-cut a case of giving up liberty for temporary safety as it gets. So, I must now extend a very rare tip of the hat to the Tea Party for standing by their beliefs. After being called out by Dennis Kucinich, who released a statement saying,

“The 112th Congress began with a historic reading of the U.S. Constitution. Will anyone subscribe to the First and Fourth Amendments tomorrow when the PATRIOT Act is up for a vote? I am hopeful that members of the Tea Party who came to Congress to defend the Constitution will join me in challenging the reauthorization.”

…several Tea Party faithful bucked the GOP party line and voted not to extend several provisions of the Patriot Act. Even if this was an attempt to avoid some parliamentary issues to get a quick passage, which required a two-thirds vote, and the GOP has the votes to pass it by a strict majority later this week, this was quite a statement by the Tea Party. Meaningless political stunt or not, I must admit, I respect them for it. You won’t hear me say that often.