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What the ACLU Is 
17th-Oct-2005 01:04 am
Adama--Bring It
My apologies to everyone on my flist, but I can't stay quiet. I have been seething for over an hour now.

Earlier this evening, someone I know received an e-mail from someone they know praising right-wing pundit Bill O'Reilly for "uncovering the truth" about what the American Civil Liberties Union "really is". Unfortunately that e-mail was not sent to me, and I therefore do not have the right to respond to the person directly. So I'm posting my seethe here.

I am a card-carrying ACLU member. I know what the ACLU is, and what it is not. If you want to know, click the lj-cut below.

O'Reilly accused the ACLU of supporting issues ranging from abortion to child pornography. His entire rant was a distortion of one simple fact.

The ACLU exists for one reason, and one reason ONLY: To legally defend the rights of individual U.S. citizens as defined under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. That is all they do. That is all they have ever done.

They do not defend opinions. They defend the right of people to express their opinion. They do not defend issues. They defend the right to gather in support of issues. They defend each individual's right to live their life according to their own conscience, without scrutiny or interference, as long as no other constitutional laws are broken in the process.

The ACLU does not only defend people with popular opinions. That would be both cowardly and unnecessary; by definition, popular opinion does not need defending. It is the unpopular and even outrageous opinion that will come under attack by the mainstream. But under our Constitution, even the person whose opinion makes your teeth grind has the right to express him or herself. I may seethe at Bill O'Reilly, but I would never insist that he be silenced. Unfortunately, he does not extend the same consideration to others.

The ACLU does not only defend those who support left-wing issues. They defended Rush Limbaugh's right to privacy when courts were trying to subpoena his medical records. Rush is another one that makes my teeth grind, but I acknowledge that he has the same right to privacy that I do and applaud the ACLU for their actions.

And for anyone who believes, like O'Reilly and that e-mail's author, that only certain opinions deserve expression and only certain kinds of people deserve rights, I have only one thing to say.

Any right you deny to another is a right you will lose yourself.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.
17th-Oct-2005 12:58 pm (UTC)

My hubby and I are all for defending your rights and freedoms. The ACLU is an excellent organisation.

19th-Oct-2005 04:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you. *smiles wryly* I need to send in my membership renewal before I forget!
17th-Oct-2005 02:38 pm (UTC)
O'Reilly is an idiot. It's sad, but he's only there to please the people who want their own uninformed opinions confirmed with no facts, please.
17th-Oct-2005 02:40 pm (UTC)
That is so true.
17th-Oct-2005 02:40 pm (UTC)
Bill O'Reilly is the biggest A-Hole on the planet. And I feel the same way about Rush Limbaugh.
17th-Oct-2005 03:48 pm (UTC)
So THAT's where you were last night! :) Good deal, dude!

18th-Oct-2005 01:41 am (UTC)
Watched The American President last night so I still can hear the speach at the end asking why Rumsfeld isn't a card carrying member. I love that scene. This reminded me to send in my volunteer form. :) Thanks
18th-Oct-2005 12:54 pm (UTC)
My father used to have shit-fits whenever they'd come to the aid of a convicted criminal. But "Any right you deny to another is a right you will lose yourself," which is a wonderful thing to say, and all I have to do is imagine how it would be if I were convicted of something I had not done and the world believed it, and I needed something I've a constitutional right to....

That's why, even though it makes my jaw hurt, I defend the right of people to have several children, because I defend the right of people to have abortions. You can't defend one aspect of reproductive freedom and not another. (All I ask is that all children born after the first two -- of either parent -- become a tax liability for that parent....but I digress.)
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