At a reception for ACLU clients in our post-9/11 work, I think it was Mike Steinberg of the ACLU of Michigan who stood in front of the group and said “Everyone here understands that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Any threat to civil liberties that you beat back in Miami, is bound to show up the next week in Detroit, or again in Miami in 10 years time.
No one gets that better than these people. There’s a great handout profiling these clients in PDF form – from the materials created for the ACLU’s Membership Conference.
It’s rare to be in a room and hear a quote like that and not think that the speaker is cloaking themselves in borrowed gravity or smirking a little at some implied joke about the group being too smart for old adages. In this case it was simply true as originally intended, and all the more profound for it.
Photos and audio and stuff from the conference here: