16 August 2005

Bulletin To Anthony Romero

Written by Jay777 of Stop The ACLU
Thank you to my dad for finding this, and to Undiscovered Country for emailing the excerpt. Anthony Romero is the executive director of the ACLU. The following is an excerpt from the book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America written by Bernard Goldberg Anthony Romero made #5 on the list.
I've never been a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union, but for many years I liked what the organization was doing. As a strong free-speech advocate myself, I supported the ACLU when it defendd the right of Nazis to march through Skokie, Illionois, a town heavily populated by Jews, including many who survived Holocaust. True, I wouldn't have shed any tears if, say, a tornado had kicked up and killed every last one of the brown-shirted (censored) as they goose-stepped through town. Still, if the government can stop Nazis from marching, I figured, whom else can it stop? I'm also with theACLU when it musters the courage - as it occasionaly does - to speak up for college kids who get in trouble with the "speech police" for saying something that offends the hypersensitive on campus, something about race or sex or gay rights. And even though I'm personally for the death penalty, I even liked the fact that the ACLU fought against it, arguing that it amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. That kind of lively debate is good for our democracy. So let's be fair, over the years the ACLU has done a lot of good. But let's also face facts: it's also done a great deal of bad, particularly in recent years; things that are deeply offensive not only to ordinary Americans but also to common sense and common decency. Like what? Like the ACLU sued the Boy Scouts of America and got them kicked out of a city park in San Diego, where they had camped out for decades, on the grounds that it was a religious organization. The ACLU has argued that even a moment of silence in public schools can amount to the "establishment of religion" and is therefore unconstitutional. The ACLU forced the county of Los Angeles to take a tiny cross of its seal, on the grounds that it violated the separation-of-church-and-state doctrine, even though it represented the historical founding of Los Angeles by Catholic missionaries and was't advocating religion in any way. The ACLU has argued that a doctor should not be allowed to tell a wife that her husband has the AIDS virus, because "the benefits of confidentiality outweigh the possibility that someone may be injured," as an ACLU spokesman explained it. And the ACLU has even defended the loathsome North American man Boy Love Association - an organization that "celebrates the joys of men and boys in love" - arguing that just because one of its members read material on the NAMBLA Web site and then, with a friend, went out and kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and killed a ten-year-old boy, NAMBLA cannot be held responsible for helping incite the murder. Even pedophiles have First Amendment rights, the Massachusetts ACLU argued. And now we have the ACLU, in all its high-mindedess, aggressively taking on the most urgent issue of our time: the war on terrorism. Thanks in large part to its national director, Anthony Romero, a soft-spoken, obviously intelligent man who took over just before September 11, 2001, "In the nearly three years since the mass murder of 3000 innocent people on American soil by fanatical Muslim terrorists, there is not a single law or policy that the ACLU has supported that would help prevent a bloody repeat of September 11," as Michelle Malkin pointed out in her syndicated column on July 28, 2004. Indeed, thanks to Romero, the ACLU has become an organization "that maintains dangeroulsy absolutist positions," as Malkin put it, on all sorts of measures aimed at fighting terrorism. Under Romero, who certainly means well, nothing is quite perfect enough for the ACLU. In fact, in late 2004, the ACLU flat out rejected over one million dollars from the Ford and Rockefeller foundations - because the money came with anti-terrorism strings attached. It seems that, like every other organization the foundations support, the ACLU would have you sign a piece of paper that says, "By signing this grant letter you agree that your organization will not promote or engage in violence, terrorism, bigotry or the destruction of any state, nor will it make sub-grants to any entity that engages in these activities." Pretty basic stuff, right? Well, no. No to the ACLU. "What do the mean by terrorism?" Romero wanted to know. "What constitutes support for terrorism?" To Anthony Romero, and the other absolutists at the ACLU, the foundations' attempt to make sure their money stayed out of the hands of terrorists amounted to nothing less than a threat to civil liberties and free speech! So, what does the ACLU see as its job, during this extraordinarily dangerous period in our history? As Anthony Romero himself says, it is "to defend ourselves against John Ashcroft (who has since resigned as attorney general) and a government that tramples on the Constitution in the name of national security." Well, here's a bulletin, Mr. Romero: The ACLU doesn't have a monopoly on virtue. Most americans are decent people who care about civil liberties, too. It's just that most of us understand that in times like these, when Muslim fundamentalists want to kill us and our children, honest mistakes might be made from time to time. It was a lot worse under Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, when he suspended all sorts of civil rights - for the sake of the nation - and the United States and its people came out of that war even stronger in our support for civil iberties. Sure, at some point, the FBI may ask a librarian for information on what some suspected terrorist was reading. Maybe the suspect will be an Arab and maybe some Arab organizations will cry "descrimination." Sorry. It's a small price to pay for living in a free country that happens to be at war. And it would also be nice if we got a little less whining from the ACLU about profiling at the airport and a little more visceral outrage at the Islamic fascists who would like nothing better than to kill every last one of us infidels. I'm not a lawyer, but I get it. We all get it: If the government is allowed to "trample" on the rights of any one of us, then none of us is safe from government tyranny. To which I say, bullshit. We live in a different world than we did on September 10, 2001. It would help everyone, starting with Anthony Romero and the ACLU, would be a little more understanding, a little more flexible, a little less absolutist. Right now the number one civil right most Americans care about is the one about our ass not getting blown up by some lunatic who thinks he's doing it for Allah. We'll wory about who's looking over our should at the library when things calm down.
Crossposted At Stop The ACLU Gribbit is a contributing writer at Stop The ACLU and the co-founder and administrator of Stop The ACLU BlogBurst. Blogger's 1st Amendment Pledge If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.

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