I wrote a piece that touched on this very subject titled “CONSTITUTION SUICIDE PACT DEBATE WITH 911 HARD HAT PLEDGE FOUNDER ANDY SULLIVAN IS AT THE HEART OF THE GROUND ZERO MOSQUE CONTROVERSY.”
Going back to Jefferson and Lincoln the spirit behind the term “the constitution is not a suicide pact” is based on the following principles expressed by Jefferson regarding of all things the Louisiana purchase:
“a strict observance of the written law is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to the written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the ends to the means.”
Here is the link to the entire post (http://wp.me/pydAP-28I), however and undoubtedly given your experience it is indeed indicative of just how slippery a slope we are on when personal rights and freedoms are at odds with the state’s perceived self-preservation interests.
my response to the September 12th, 2011 Stories from the Heartland blog post Some real Shock and Awe: Racially profiled and cuffed in Detroit .
I have to admit that I am not certain if my weekend viewing of the various programs marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack was driven by an interest in learning how we have progressed relative to our views of the world and the shattering of our illusion of geographic invincibility or, the fact that while ten years has passed since that fateful Fall morning, the tragedy’s wounds seem almost as fresh today as they were when it happened.
One thing is for certain, our collective psyches have been forever marked by 9/11 with far reaching consequences, the extent of which became very clear with the Stories from the Heartland blog post.
While I strongly suggest that you read the post in its entirety to obtain the first hand account of Shoshana Hebshi, the blog’s author, and how she was cuffed, tossed in a cell and stripped searched, to gain a true appreciation of her incredible ordeal, what is equally troubling is that just prior to her eventual release she was informed that is was a fellow passenger on her flight who had alleged that she along with two Indian males sitting next to her were engaged in suspicious activities that led to her conspicuous “detainment.”
When it became clear to the authorities that the concerns of the reporting passenger were unwarranted, the explanation offered by the FBI agent for her detention was that it was “9/11 and people are seeing ghosts. They are seeing things that aren’t there,” and that they were compelled “to act on a report of suspicious behavior, and this is what the reaction looks like.”
Small consolation and somewhat disconcerting when you consider that the same FBI agent told her that there had been 50 other similar incidents across the country that day.
Tying this back into my opening paragraph about the constitution not being a suicide pact, it is abundantly clear that the balance between individual rights and freedoms and the best interests of the nation as a whole has yet to be achieved. Until the harmonious tautness between the two can be restored to a pre 9/11 status, we are all to varying degrees vulnerable to a similar intrusion as experienced by Ms. Hebshi at the Detroit airport.
In this regard, and even though they will not win the war, the terrorists who perpetrated the 9/11 attack have to a certain measure won an important and memorable battle.