BASED ON A PIECE BY Byron Williams Sept 2016
On this upcoming anniversary of 9/11, let us never forget the innocent lives that were lost that day, the families whose lives were permanently altered and the valor that service units displayed, willing to risk their lives to save others. But let also us remember it was a moment when fear trumped our values. And to the latter point let us be resolved to say:
We vowed never to forget 9/11, and in many respects we have not. But the underlying fear, resulting from that ill-fated day, rendered America vulnerable in a manner perhaps not duplicated in our history.
Unlike Pearl Harbor, when some Americans witnessed newsreels in the aftermath or the JFK assassination footage taken by Abraham Zapruder, which was not made public until 1975, America saw the second jet go into World Trade Center tower live.
The power of that image allowed us to place an asterisk on Sept. 11, 2001, denoting the date where we would be willing to make an exception to the constitutional values that had held the nation together for 213 years.
It was a time when the Patriot Act made sense to majorities in Congress and the nation at-large, in spite of protestations of its dangers. The downside was rationalized in that only those with something to hide should worry about the unprecedented invasion of privacy that was shielded by the Fourth Amendment’s protection of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.
The fear of another terrorist attack made the risk of any potential government overreach a Faustian bargain worth taking.
The understandable need to return to safety permitted our collective actions to utter the unthinkable: “Yes, our constitutional values are important, but...”
Let us be resolved to remember our rights and values guaranteed us in the constitution, and not let them be compromised.