And for America itself, I say to you this:
"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin
Abolish PATRIOT. Eliminate security theater.
STOP BEING AFRAID."So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt
We are not threatened by the terrorists. They have neither the technological competence, nor the organization, to threaten this country. They DO have the ability to make US destroy this country, polarize it into fearful and oppressed and fear-mongering and oppressive. They have already done so. We are the ONLY ones who can change this, take back what we have given away. If those behind terrorist acts truly understand their opponents, they are LAUGHING at us now. They know they have damaged us, and in doing so have provoked us into doing more damage to ourselves through our acts of fear.
"But they could kill some of us!"
Yes. Yes they could. They probably will. And they can do so DESPITE all of our efforts. This is a truth that has been known for hundreds of years, THOUSANDS of years. If a man is determined to kill you, if a group of people are focused on injuring you and they are willing to die to accomplish this, THEY WILL.
Yet is DEATH something we should be afraid of?
Perhaps yes, individually, for our individual lives and those that we are responsible for. But we ALL will face death. We face it every day. Despite constantly increasing safety (and we have done wonders for improving safety) in automobiles and driving, more than THIRTY THOUSAND PEOPLE die EVERY YEAR from auto accidents. Yet we have not outlawed automobiles. We license the drivers but we do not control them. We do not worry every time a car comes through our neighborhood that it will suddenly careen out of control and kill us -- even though such accidents happen many times every year. We accept that the price of our mobile society is this risk.
Bathroom deaths exceed in frequency those due to handguns, scaffolding falls, and clothing fires, yet we do not fear for our lives when we enter the bathroom. We accept the risks and realize how very, very small those chances really are.
The price of being a free society that tries (sometimes clumsily and ineffectually, but still tries) to promote freedom and equality of all is that we HAVE TO BE FREE. And that freedom implies that those within our society are free to HURT us. We can punish, but we cannot prevent and still maintain our freedom. Terrorists in the USA have killed a few thousand of us. Most of them in a single event which they have not repeated, and probably cannot repeat, at least not in that fashion.
Is their threat so great that we NEED to fear that every one of our own citizens is hiding a bomb, that every person crossing our border is a villain, and treat them that way? I've entered secure military facilities several times without NEARLY that level of intrusion on my person.
Wake up to YOURSELF, America. We are better than that. We are STRONGER than that. We don't have to be afraid. We can be hurt. We WILL be hurt. But we don't have to let those who hurt us make us monsters, or cowardly fearful things hiding from the big terrorist bogeyman outside our borders (or maybe lurking under our beds!). We don't have to look at someone who says "I'm a Muslim" and wonder if they're here to destroy the fabric of our nation. (Some of them are BUILDING it; my boss is a Muslim).
We need to step forward and throw off the chains of fear we have bound ourselves in and become the United States of America again. Not the United States that wants to imprison its own citizens, that believes that the tiniest threat is the excuse for any amount of intrusiveness and humiliation, but the United States of America that exists in my dreams, in the dreams and belief in any of our citizens that still can hear the national anthem and understand what it means: we risked death for the sake of freedom when we FOUNDED this nation. We need to remember that we must risk that EVERY day, by BEING free.