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LIBERTY IN TIMES OF CRISIS - page 30 / 32

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CONCLUSION Democracy has many great attributes, but it is not a quiet business. Our democracy is built on principles of free speech and due process of law. These great principles encourage each and every one of us to speak up in the firm conviction that by so doing, we strengthen our nation. When It is important to understand that the people who planned, financed and executed the Sept. 11 atrocities despise our values as much as they despise our wealth and power. They understand, perhaps even more keenly than some Americans, that our wealth and power derive from the democratic values expressed in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. If we are intimidated to the point of restricting our freedoms and undermining our democracy, the terrorists will have won a resounding victory indeed. AS WE MARK THE ANNIVERSARY OF SEPT. 11, WE HAVE A CHOICE ABOUT THE CONTENT AND CHARACTER OF OUR

Long-term vigilance is essential, because the war on terrorism, unlike conventional past wars, will not to come to a visible, decisive end any time soon. Any civil-liberties restrictions imposed may be with us for a very long time. So long, in fact, that they may change the very notion of freedom in America and the character of our democratic system in ways that very few, if any, Americans desire. Long-term consequences must be taken into account so that America will be both safe and free. DEMOCRACY. WE CAN EITHER FOLLOW OUR FEARS OR BE LED BY OUR VALUES. Americans question whether the new anti-terrorism laws are upsetting the system of checks and balances that are fundamental to our democracy, they are fulfilling a civic responsibility. And when others decry the detention of hundreds of immigrants for reasons that have nothing to do with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, they are performing a necessary task. The war on terror is also a war of ideas. If we are really serious about preventing further attacks, it is not enough to become better spies. We need to encourage public debate in this country and abroad on our enemies’ ideas and our own. And we need to have confidence in our core values. As we mark the anniversary of Sept. 11, we have a choice about the content and character of our democracy. We can either follow our fears or be led by our values.

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