As we mark the 10-year anniversary of the attacks on 9/11 and wade through the mountains of “never forget” memorabilia, we have a specific chance to take this tragedy and turn it on its heel.
After all, those attacks launched the never-ending “war on terror” and a firm step away from our core constitutional values. Now we torture. Now we engage in extraordinary rendition and indefinite detention. Racial profiling has expanded exponentially as has warrantless wiretapping.
Yet rarely, in the commemoration of victims do we commemorate our civil liberties. But we should. And then, we should set out to have the next decade be one where we mark a return to the rule of law and a return to the constitutional principles that separated the United States from our purported “enemies.”
On this point the Obama administration has offered little but disappointment, choosing to carry forward the lawless policies of the preceding administration. Congress has also proved all too willing to continue on with those policies, even hamstringing the administration when, like with the closing of Guantanamo, it does try to do the right thing.
Americans should demand our leaders start this new decade with a renewed commitment to the rule of law and to the fundamental constitutional principles of a respect for personal privacy, dignity and freedom from an unaccountable surveillance state. It can be done. We’ve done it before. And what more appropriate homage could be paid to the victims of those attacks than to double down on our Constitution?
For more coverage on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, click here.
Photo from thorneenterprises via flickr.