President of Blue Chip Young Republicans
Is there a need? Yes. Is there a desire? Yes. Is there a fear? Yes, and rightly so. We have long benefited from the oceanic divide, but this ever-shrinking world has finally caught up with us. Actually it caught up with us back in the first World Trade Center attack; we just never realized it.
Conservatives will rightly tell you that you cannot trade freedom for security. Freedoms are an integral part of our society -- no, our civilization. We rely on individual choices to seek self-interest within the parameters of the greater good. Even our pop-culture TV show Who Wants to be a Millionaire validates this faith in mass individualism -- with over 90 percent accuracy when one "asks the audience."
Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania, needs to bear in mind our willingness to do what's right, and even more importantly, what's needed, as he maps out the parameters of our security.
We know the rules have changed regarding terrorists, and taking away our nail clippers on airplanes will do nothing to make us safer. When flying last Thursday, with wife and son, I offered the flight attendant "my services" should she need them. She gave a smile and nod that said she'd heard it many times recently.
Passengers are now more aware of their surroundings and neighbors, something we as a nation should have been years ago. Our punishment for not being aware will be some short-term losses of privileges -- not freedoms, just those annoying things like lines to verify certain kinds of movement, e.g. airplanes, hazardous materials, etc., until we can return to a less warlike state. Remember, tagging and IDs have already been proven inadequate.
Similar to the phrase "The cure to all the ills of democracy is more democracy," the answer is the cure to all the ills of freedom is more freedom like the right to carry weapons.
David N. Schaff
President of Hamilton County Young Democrats
Legislation must be enacted that maximizes our security, but it must minimize the impact on our civil liberties. Government should take steps to reduce the risk of future terrorist attacks with a commitment to not diminish the liberties and freedoms that are at the core of the American way of life.
Consider the very low level of proof needed to wiretap a telephone. All a law enforcement agent has to do is certify that the information to be obtained is "relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation." Legislation proposed by the U.S. Congress in response to Sept. 11 would further minimize judicial supervision of telephone and Internet surveillance. Do you want the government tracking what Web sites you visit?
Additional legislation would also expand the ability of the government to conduct secret searches and grant access to sensitive business records about individuals without having to show evidence of a crime. For Americans and immigrants, much of the proposed legislation has a negative long-term impact on basic freedoms.
One long-term solution to security is heightened tolerance. Law enforcement agents and our neighbors must stop profiling! We should be ashamed that such hasty profiling has occurred against Arab Americans and Muslims. However, we should not forget the hundreds of years that we have profiled women and African Americans. Our tolerance of each other will do more to protect America and its civil liberties than any wiretap will.
Government has a duty to uphold the Constitution. The First Amendment is arguably most important -- "the right of the people peaceably to assemble."
We should feel safe from terrorist attacks when we walk the streets, but we must heed caution to anti-terrorism legislation, as it may threaten our civil liberties.
Independent candidate for Cincinnati City Council
If you take a good look around, it is already in process. The government is scrutinizing all incidents that occur to see if it may possibly be terrorist-related. The government is investigating, questioning and detaining residents of a specific ethic group for the least little cause.
All or most public facilities are installing new security measures -- updated door security systems, background checks, etc. It is occurring everywhere you look and go. As the war proceeds and there are more attacks on our soil -- and most suspect there will be some retaliation -- more restrictions will be applied.
Imagine armed forces everywhere, guarding and patrolling our streets, stopping, searching and questioning anyone they deem suspicious.
I will venture to say that as time passes on, the majority of Americans will begin to interpret this as invasion of privacy and probably began to complain, because we are not accustomed to such public scrutiny. However, it is interesting to note that most minorities will hardly be affected all, because we are already used to being "under the microscope" in our workplace, neighborhoods and every other facet of our lives. The day will go on basically as usual. This just points out the social inequities in our society.
Most Americans will say but this is different, and my response: is it really? In close, civil liberties will be effected, and for once we all will be walking in the same shoes.