45 years ago, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech in Berlin. (text and video at the link) He gave it 22 months after the East German government closed the border and began building a permanent wall around West Berlin, 18 years after the Soviets tried and failed to strangle West Berlin with a blockade.

Kennedy did not mince words on that day in Berlin. Pointing to the steadfast witness of the people of Berlin to the power of freedom, as they defiantly stood up against the authoritarian power of the communist east, Kennedy used a single phrase again and again to challenge those who would sell out freedom one little bit at a time:

There are many people in the world who really don’t understand, or say they don’t, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world.

Let them come to Berlin.

There are some who say — There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future.

Let them come to Berlin.

And there are some who say, in Europe and elsewhere, we can work with the Communists.

Let them come to Berlin.

And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress.

Lass’ sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin.

Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect. But we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in — to prevent them from leaving us. . .

And up until recently, we had never thought it necessary to sacrifice the freedom from warrantless searches enshrined in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, either.

In this FISA fight, with the Bush Administration’s push for retroactive immunity for the telecoms that illegally cooperated with the BushCo’s unconstitutional warrantless wiretapping, Steny Hoyer and the other watercarriers for the Bush Administration might want to heed Kennedy’s words, adjusted just a wee bit. Perhaps what they need is a Congressional fact finding tour . . .

There are many people in the nation who really don’t understand, or say they don’t, what is the great issue between the patriots in Congress and those pushing for a monarchical presidency.

Let them go to Berlin.

There are some who say that a monarchical presidency is the wave of the future.

Let them go to Berlin.

And there are some who say, in Congress and elsewhere, we can work with the monarchical presidency.

Let them go to Berlin.

And there are even a few who say that it is true that a monarchical presidency is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress.

Lass’ sie nach Berlin gehen. Let them go to Berlin.

Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect. But we have never — never in over 200 years, never until BushCo took office — tried to sell off part of the Bill of Rights and call it "protecting freedom." Orwell would be proud.

Go to Berlin, Steny Hoyer, and take the other spineless members of the House Democratic Leadership with you.

Go to Berlin, Chris Carney and John Barrow, and take the other toothless members of the House Bush Dog caucus with you.

Go to Berlin, Jay Rockefeller, and take the rest of the Democrats in the Senate with you who are afraid to stand up against Bush or your donors, for fear of losing your jobs.

Go to Berlin, all of you, and look at that reunified and free city. Go to Berlin, and see how those who stood up on behalf of freedom have triumphed. Those of us who fight on behalf of the Fourth Amendment against these odious FISA amendments are fighting a similar battle for freedom. Instead of a wall, we stand up against unreasonable, unchallengeable, and unconstitutional searches. It’d be nice if you stood up, too.

45 years ago tomorrow, Kennedy said this to a cheering crowd freely gathered to hear him:

So let me ask you, as I close, to lift your eyes beyond the dangers of today, to the hopes of tomorrow, beyond the freedom merely of this city of Berlin, or your country of Germany, to the advance of freedom everywhere, beyond the wall to the day of peace with justice, beyond yourselves and ourselves to all mankind.

Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free. When all are free, then we look — can look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one and this country and this great Continent of Europe in a peaceful and hopeful globe. When that day finally comes, as it will, the people of West Berlin can take sober satisfaction in the fact that they were in the front lines for almost two decades.

All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin.

And, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "Ich bin ein Berliner."

In 1989, that day came to the people of Berlin, and they have never forgotten it. With JFK, I proudly claim that I am a Berliner.

Senators, you too can make that claim. All you have to do is follow the lead of Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold. (Senator Obama, it would be nice to see you first in line behind them.)

But Steny and you Bush Dogs, don’t you fret. We Berliners haven’t forgotten about you. Hope you like your ad tomorrow, and all the ads to come.

UPDATE: Senate Cloture vote passes 80-15.