Today’s controversies involving the NSA and New York City are not as far apart as officials in each would think. As President Barack Obama said about NSA surveillance of our non-content communications data, we must rethink our ways of achieving an appropriate trade-off so we can retain our right of privacy and still be safe from terrorism. So, too, Bloomberg must avoid his knee-tap reflex and rethink ways his police can keep the city safe while not making minorities sacrifice their constitutional freedoms.
Mainly, we must always remember the lessons of those times when America jettisoned its most cherished principles — and paid a long-term price that was far too dear.
Martin Schram writes political analysis for Scripps Howard News Service. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.