ACLUOne of my favorite “veg out” movies is "American President". Michael Douglas is President Andrew Shepherd, the leader of the free world, who has lost his ideals in the political morass that is Washington. He’s under pressure from a conservative challenger in the upcoming election, and when the Pres finally regains his bearings, he delivers a rousing speech to the White House press corps about American values. Within that speech he admits to being a card carrying member of the ACLU and asks his opponent, “And why aren’t you?”. Going on to say, “The ACLU 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?

As of last week, it looks like the Constitution will now have a full time defense in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The ACLU has opened an office here that will specialize in immigrant rights and issues. The story in the March 6, edition of "The Morning Call" quoted community leaders and activists as being very supportive. But when you read that story on the paper’s website, you find over 47 comments posted, almost all of which are filled with an astounding amount of bigotry, hatred and bias.

I probably disagree with the cases the ACLU takes on as much as I agree with them. But It is exactly the people in the Call’s comments section and their narrow view of the world, that makes me grateful I live in a country where an organization like the ACLU has the freedom to exist.

“And then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me”. Pastor Martin Niemöller Germany, 1946

15 thoughts on “ACLU Comes to Allentown”

  1. Looking To Escape

    “When Hazleton passed a law barring illegal immigrants from renting a place or working in the city, the ACLU quickly joined a lawsuit to get it overturned.”
    .
    Illegals willfully broke the law, they did not accidentally break the law. They didn’t happen to inadvertently trip over the US border.
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    These people disrespected the United States, it’s people and the people who OBSERVE the law by waiting for legal entry.
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    The ACLU should be on the forefront of people who OBSERVE the law.
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    I do not justify the extremist reaction of the illegal immigrant situation, you do create a large moral contradiction jailing people for breaking the law while giving other law breakers a pass.
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    I do not think this was a good example of the ACLU doing “great work”.

    1. Looking,

      The immigration issue is one of the toughest moral and economic issues this country will ever face. I have no idea how we’re ever going to find a solution. In the meantime, our healthcare system and courts are drowning under the weight.

      Like you, I do not support the ACLU on their blind defense of illegal immigrants. But I still wouldn’t want to live in a country that didn’t have an organization like them.

  2. The bulk of the extremist comments in the M.Call story on the new ACLU office were directed at Latinos in general. The commenters who expressed resentment (and sometimes advocated violence) towards them obviously really have no way of knowing whether the folks they see on the street are in the U.S. illegally or not (such as the large number of Puerto Rican residents in the Lehigh Valley). Many of the comments were simply angry at and intolerant of anyone not like themselves. Exactly why we need an ACLU office. And why it’s scary to think that we walk among these angry racists.

  3. Looking To Escape

    “Like you, I do not support the ACLU on their blind defense of illegal immigrants. But I still wouldn’t want to live in a country that didn’t have an organization like them.”
    .
    There are many civil liberty organizations. The ACLU just happens to be the loudest. Here’s one you may not have heard of.

    http://www.thomasmore.org/default-sb_thomasmore.html?2313677
    .
    I am a firm believer in no one should profit from an illegal act and the illegals should be deported (with an exception for the immediate family of those who serve in the military. Such an action would make a strong statement about justice applied firmly and fairly. Forget the shades of gray, these people are taking advantage of the goodwill of the American people.
    .
    Since Mr Donovan decided to respond, I will repeat something I said on his blog.
    Black Americans for years made the argument so many of them ended up in prison because they were born into poor economic circumstances (the same argument illegals use). While I feel once a crime has been committed, it should be dealt with, I can understand the argument made (and agree with it to a large extent.
    I suggested to Mr Donovan if he felt the economic reason is a good excuse for the illegals, then he should go explain to the occupants of LehIgh prison why they have to pay for breaking the law.
    If we excuse the illegals, then decency and fairness requires us to release all but the most dangerous criminals in Lehigh County prison.

  4. Looking To Escape

    “The bulk of the extremist comments in the M.Call story on the new ACLU office were directed at Latinos in general. The commenters who expressed resentment (and sometimes advocated violence) towards them obviously really have no way of knowing whether the folks they see on the street are in the U.S. illegally or not (such as the large number of Puerto Rican residents in the Lehigh Valley). Many of the comments were simply angry at and intolerant of anyone not like themselves. Exactly why we need an ACLU office. And why it’s scary to think that we walk among these angry racists.”
    .
    These people have a rightful anger for they have a government that did not protect them, will extract money from them to support illegals, were sold out by business interests and liberal social organizations that have to always feed their need to feel heroic. Let’s not forget the growing dangerous criminal organizations that prey on Americans.
    .
    They were taught to obey the law and they were knifed in the back. They have been ill served.
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    The racism charge is only attempt the dodge the real issues.

  5. It is typically the “undesirables” who get their rights stomped on. Thus, the ACLU has to defend some people who probably should be in jail to protect the rights of all. Once the precedent has been set that one’s rights are lost, that applies to all. American history is littered with the innocent being trashed.

  6. “Rightful anger” ? Since when is advocacy of violence and disparaging folks because of where they were born “rightful”? And exactly how did the government “not protect them” or “knife them in the back”? Aren’t we fighting two wars to “protect them”? Isn’t the President trying to give 30 million of them health insurance who have none and prevent those “business interests” (like insurance companies) from dropping their coverage when they get sick?
    These folks cry often that they “want their country back” — exactly what has been taken from them? No one is coming after their guns, their Medicare, or their savings (except the big banks, who the President is also trying to rein in). Constantly whining about being victims does not justify advocating violence against “those people” or violent overthrow of the democratically-elected government, as was done in the comments to the Morning Call’s article on the new ACLU office.

  7. Looking To Escape

    “Rightful anger” ? Since when is advocacy of violence and disparaging folks because of where they were born “rightful”? And exactly how did the government “not protect them” or “knife them in the back”? Aren’t we fighting two wars to “protect them”? Isn’t the President trying to give 30 million of them health insurance who have none and prevent those “business interests” (like insurance companies) from dropping their coverage when they get sick?
    .
    You didn’t read anything I posted, did you?
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    By the way, the government can only give what others have paid for (or get stuck with the tab). When it comes to government services, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Barack Obama isn’t giving anyone anything and health insurance will not be free.
    .
    And another thing, Barack Obama tried to suppress a legal result in Honduras when their leftist President tried to effectively over throw their government and the Honduran Supreme Court rejected it. Ole Barack didn’t support their legal process. I can say why people like you would fear a over throw.

  8. Resident of Allentown

    “The ACLU is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights”. That may once have been true once but no longer. I posted on that article about how I used to argue with my more conservative friends that the ACLU benefited everyone by defending the Bill of Rights without regard to politics and even was considering becoming a member myself. That was until the Supreme Court made a ruling concerning the 2nd ammendment and the right to bear arms. The ACLU decided it knew better than the Supremes and this was one right they would not be defending. In other words the organization would pick and choose which rights in the Bill were good for the citizenry. I’m sad to say it showed me that the ACLU has succumbed to being just another bunch of political hacks who know who is buttering their bread.

  9. What don’t people understand about ILLEGAL? Great we have a Group that stands up for them. As a veteran it is bewildering to me how people justify illegal citizens. Lets pick and choose which laws to enforce! Gee why is our country going in the crapper! Not what I was fighting for! Kick them out and let them apply through the proper process.

  10. Pam –

    The ACLU was founded by Communists for the purpose of undermining our government and institutions through the judicial system.

    Far too many have been fooled into believing that their purpose is to protect our rights. In reality, they are there to destroy the foundation of our country, with the purpose of remaking it into something that we would not recognize.

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