When the OH woke me up five years ago to tell me that planes had flown into the twin towers, I fuzzily thought a minute and said "Terrorism?" and he said yes, it seemed so. Then I said, "There go our civil liberties."
I should have said "There goes my illusion that civil liberties existed at all."
As a middle-class white person, I'm still able to move about at will (except that my air travel options are more severely restricted), but I'm quite aware it's not a liberty; that is, it's not my right that the government exists to protect. It's a privilege granted to me by members of my government because I look like them, have enough money, and don't openly defy them.
What I didn't know before, I'm sorry to say, is that it's been like that all along - I just didn't recognize it. The main change is that the pool of people who are granted those privileges has become smaller, and the number of privileges granted to everyone has also become smaller.
I have no idea what to do about this. I've written letters and given money and talked about it, of course. Other than that I guess I'm just sitting here hoping the tide won't recede too much farther.