In his State of the Union address in 1941, President Roosevelt presented his four freedoms – four essential freedoms that would distinguish America from totalitarian powers. They were freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. That last one, freedom from fear, doesn’t get a lot of airplay, but that’s the freedom I want to defend tonight. The new search program treats innocent metro riders like presumptive criminals, and fosters an atmosphere of fear and mistrust. The policy will be more apt to create fear than security.
We’ve become a frightened nation, willing to give up more and more of our constitutionally protected rights in order to be “safe”. Random bag searches aren’t the most egregious example, but they are one more step away from freedom toward totalitarianism. A small step, but still a step in the wrong direction.
I urge the Riders Advisory Council to pass a strong resolution against the random bag searches.
UPDATE/EDIT, 1/4: this replaces an earlier version of the statement, with different 2d and 3d paragraphs, that was not presented at the meeting.