A little Jay-Z to get you through the day…or, if you prefer, the Dr. Evil and Mini-Me parody version.

Dear Elected Members of Congress:  Welcome to the “You Work For Us Summer Tour.”  Coming to a public venue near you.  And that is a stone cold promise.

This is your LiLo Don’t Drink And Drive Night at the minor leagues accountability moment, members of Congress.  What group am I with when I call to make an appointment for me and a few hundred of my closest friends?  I’m with “people who vote.”  We are pissed off and disgusted.  And you work for us, so we’ll be discussing your performance evaluation every opportunity that we get.  We’ll be calling for an appointment shortly, so make a little space on your calendars.

You thought you were getting the month of August off to head out to friendly little senior centers and county fairs where you get to do your political shuck and gladhand and eat some homemade pie?  Not so fast, slick.

Now that Congress has handed over the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the standard of probable cause as if they were mere wisps of nothingness that weren’t hard won from Runnymede through to the American Revolution and beyond, I have to wonder what has become of the fourth amendment in all of this mess?  And, worse, whether Congressional leadership on either side of the aisle cares beyond getting the legislation out of the way so they can head out for vacation?

Marty Lederman has put together an exceptional series of expository links on the FISA legislation — bless him for it, because it is all I can do to get past furious this morning.  The question I keep asking staffers and strategists:  what in the hell were you thinking?  And the “this is a difficult situation” response that I keep getting?  Not.  Good.  Enough.

You want difficult?  Try this on for size:

…During and after the Brown decision, Hill remained an instrumental force in developing legal strategies during Virginia’s “massive resistance” to desegregation, in which many public schools closed rather than admit blacks.

He filed countless suits in the state to compel change in such areas as voting rights, jury selection, access to school buses and employment protection.

Hill’s activism came at a price. A cross was burned on his lawn in 1955, and his family received so many threats that his wife installed floodlights.

At the time, Hill said officials in Richmond “had the ambulance, the fire department and the undertaker all sent to my house in about 15 minutes of each other” to intimidate him.

He told the publication Human Rights in 1994: “I can’t understand why Americans are willing to send their children — black and white — to foreign lands to fight, and sometimes die, to preserve the American concepts of freedom, democracy and civil rights, when at the same time these same Americans are unwilling to undergo an occasional inconvenience or suffer a slight financial loss to help break down racial barriers and racial discrimination in this country.”…

Oliver Hill was one of the greats. The man lived and breathed justice and equality for all under the law. I can only hope at the end of my days to have a tenth of the character and strength this man had on his worst days.  He and his family were in constant threat of danger for his work — they burned a cross on his lawn, and he said “the hell you are” and kept right on going.  He kept on fighting because it was the right thing to do.  Because his conscience and his heart demanded that he stand up for others, day in and day out, and that he keep on fighting because there were battles that had to be waged for the benefit of the whole nation.

Oliver Hill stands as an example for all of us of what one person, one voice, in the cause of justice can do to move the whole nation.  Now THAT is patriotism.

The whole “The President put a lot of pressure on us.  They were going to call us soft of terrorism.” bullshit excuses?  It’s just so much crap.  True patriots stand up.  And if you think for a moment that we are just going to forget on this one, you have another thing coming. 

Jane is absolutely correct in saying that the Republican Presidential candidates are heading hard right toward the fringes of their base, tying themselves to a President that the vast majority of Americans think is a failure.  So why in the hell would the Democrats in Congress do the same?  I say we find out.

Call the local offices of your elected representatives today.  Find out where and when they will be attending events in your area.  Or schedule a meeting with your representatives or a member of their staff – they do, after all, work for you.  Or do both.  Write letters to the editor in advance of these public meetings, so folks in your town have some things to talk about with your elected officials at the local watering hole.  Send letters, postcards, drop by the offices in person.  Whatever it takes.

This is a full court press, folks.  Your nation is depending on us getting up off our butts and doing the work.  Being a citizen is not something that we are — it is something that we do.  I’m with Howie:  we’ll keep on searching for more and better Democrats but, in the meantime, let’s give the ones we have a piece of our minds and remind them that they work for us, and not the other way around.  Now, let’s get to work…

PS — I’ll let the WV readers know when I get something set up with Sens. Rockefeller and Byrd and with Rep. Mollohan (who is my district rep.)  I’m going to start working on that today.