The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What Is the ACLU?

Reality Check: What is the ACLU?

The fundamentalist wing of the Republican Party (including conservative commentators and Fox "News") spends a lot of time maligning the ACLU.

Bill O'Reilly states, "No organization in America enables terrorism as much as the ACLU, period."

Jerry Falwell stated that "The ACLU has got to take a lot of blame for [9-11]"
Ann Coulter writes, "ACLU and ABA Would Protect WTC Terrorists From U.S. Eavesdropping"

The American Legion claims that the ACLU wants to "destroy American values at taxpayer expense."

Columnist Alan Sears writes that the "American Civil Liberties Union is lost in the woods without a compass. A moral compass, that is."

Marine Major Rick Erickson stated that "To be sure, groups like the ACLU are domestic enemies of the United States."

Trent Lott has stated, "Most politicians run around worried about civil libertarians and being sued by the ACLU."

Rush Limbaugh recently pontificated, "It is the people versus Hollywood and the ACLU…. We've got memos from the judiciary committee staff showing us that these groups own the Democrats, these groups are radical leftist groups."

Wow! Reading these quotes, you would think that the ACLU was one of the most diabolical organizations that is allowed to exist in America. You might even conclude that the ACLU is a bunch of terrorists!

What is the ACLU really? Actually, the ACLU is one of the most misunderstood and indeed misrepresented organizations in America. The ACLU is the American Civil Liberties Union.

According to their website, the ACLU's mission is the following:

"The American system of government is founded on two counterbalancing principles: that the majority of the people governs, through democratically elected representatives; and that the power even of a democratic majority must be limited, to ensure individual rights. Majority power is limited by the Constitution's Bill of Rights, which consists of the original ten amendments ratified in 1791, plus the three post-Civil War amendments (the 13th, 14th and 15th) and the 19th Amendment (women's suffrage), adopted in 1920.

"The mission of the ACLU is to preserve all of these protections and guarantees:

1. Your First Amendment rights-freedom of speech, association and assembly. Freedom of the press, and freedom of religion supported by the strict separation of church and state.

2. Your right to equal protection under the law - equal treatment regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin.

3. Your right to due process - fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.

4. Your right to privacy - freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs.

The funny thing is that the ACLU is so serious about its mission that it even defends its critics! The ACLU has defended Rush "Oxycontin" Limbaugh against inappropriate use of his medical records during his recent prosecution, and the ACLU joined with the "Reverend" Jerry Falwell in support of his lawsuit against a Virginia law that regulated how much property a church can own.

The ACLU sponsors lawsuits against teaching creationism (a.k.a. intelligent design) in PUBLIC schools. But the ACLU would just as readily challenge a law that prevented a PRIVATE school from teaching creationism if they so desired.

The ACLU also sues the various branches of federal, state, and local government when they overstep their authority. For example, the ACLU recently sued the NSA to stop them from spying on Americans without first obtaining warrants -- something reminiscent of the Vietnam War era.

The ACLU is at the forefront of defending the liberties and freedoms enjoyed by Americans. The ACLU is what makes and keeps America great. This is why I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU. I urge you to join the ACLU as well; in this time of increasing fascism, they could really your help.

-John Locke

PS. If you have ever watched the movie The American President, one of the defining moments in the movie is when the President Andrew Shepherd, played by Michael Douglas, finally responds to criticism that he is a "card-carrying member of the ACLU."

I have included a link to the soundtrack and a transcript of the speech.

Reporter: Robyn, will the President ever respond to Senator Rumson's question about being a member of the American Civil Liberties Union?

President Shepherd: Yes, he will. Good morning. [Members of the White House Press Corps begin to rise] It's alright. Please keep your seats. Good morning.

For the last couple of months, Senator Rumson has suggested that being President of this country was, to a certain extent, about character. And although I've not been willing to engage in his attacks on me, I've been here three years and three days, and I can tell you without hesitation: Being President of this country is entirely about character.

For the record, yes, I am a card carrying member of the ACLU, but the more important question is "Why aren't you, Bob?" Now this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question, why would a senator, his party's most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the constitution? Now if you can answer that question, folks, then you're smarter than I am, because I didn't understand it until a few hours ago.

America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.


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