One comes away with the knowlege that our system of Government was set up specifically to COUNTER the natural proclivity of humans left unchecked. The founders saw personal ambition and irrational fear as forces to be coralled and set against each other by the system of checks and balances.
It is unsurprising then that it is during times of stress that the Constitution and the Rule of Law are in the greatest danger.
Compounding the problem is what can only be referred to as Cheney's revenge for Nixon. Much of the what the administratrion has done has been specifically to undo the effects of the Church commission. The deliberate violation of FISA when the political capital was available to change it instead is a direct result of the Cheney/Addington project to resupremify the Presidency. Even the erasure of e-mails and the ignoring of subpeonas falls under the same effort.
Part of the problem with the FISA vote is that people just don't understand the stakes involved.