Bill O’Reilly said, and I quote: “I’m declaring war on the ACLU. I think they are a terrorist group. They are terrorizing me and my family. They are terrorizing me. I think they are terrorists.”
Right-wingers bitching about the ACLU is nothing new but I am still stumped by it. The ACLU’s mission, according to their web site, is as follows:
The ACLU is our nation’s guardian of liberty. We work daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Our job is to conserve America’s original civic values – the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Raise your hand if you are against that mission. Raise your hand if you are annoyed that people are out there defending the civil liberties of the American people.
What. The. Fuck.
We’ve all heard of the ACLU defending some stuff that stretches our sensibilities, let’s say. They are pretty ballsey in that they do not avoid issues that will be unpopular. Al Franken, on his show, mentioned that the ACLU sued on behalf of some neo-Nazis that wanted to have a parade or something. It sounds nuts until you think about it: do you want the government to decide which points of view are allowed parades and which points of view are not? We, the American people, decided on this funny thing called the First Amendment that protects our right to express even the most looney and wildly unpopular ideas. This is the same amendment that lets Bill O’Reilly say all the stupid and often untrue shit he says. It’s the same ones that lets Christians preach everyday on the campus where I take classes.
When Bill O’Reilly says insanely stupid shit like I quote above he is saying that the government should not grant rights to people he disagrees with. Bill O’Reilly is against liberty! How else can you interpret that statement?
I really encourage you to read about the ACLU’s mission. It is a necessary and honorable one.
The right is wrong, as usual.
2 thoughts on “God Bless the ACLU”
Thanks, Andrea, your comment really illustrates how tough this can be. I can easily imagine feeling exactly like your grandmother did. Her disgust was really for the neo-Nazis — her complaint with the ACLU was that they were applying their protection equally to all speech. The First Amendment protects a lot of hurtful and hateful speech. This is the price of liberty.
In the end I agree with you — I’d rather protect hurtful and hateful speech than let “someone else” decide what speech was protected and what speech was not.
The ACLU defended the rights of Neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois, which is a community of Holocaust survivors. My grandmother cancelled her membership to the ACLU in disgust. I wasn’t alive yet when that event happened so I missed the drama. I’m on the fence with this one. But if I had to pick one way to go, even if my heart wasn’t their 100%, I would have to side with the ACLU – it was their right.