Just last week we were singing praises to Senator Rand Paul for being the sole voice to try and stop the re-authorization of Patriot Act provisions for four more years, with no debate. But then, when speaking to Sean Hannity about profiling at airports he suggested people be imprisoned or deported just for attending a political speech. Host of The Bottom Line, James Poulos weighs in.
PAUL: I’m not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they’ve been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they’ve been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn’t be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after — they should be deported or put in prison.
Paul’s suggestion that people be imprisoned or deported for merely attending a political speech would be a fairly egregious violation on the First Amendment, not to mention due process. What if someone attended a radical speech as a curious bystander? Should they too be thrown in prison? And who defines what is considered so “radical” that it is worth imprisonment?