ACLU Comes to Allentown

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