Thursday, November 17, 2005

Just Getting Ridiculous Now

It just seems to be an overt conspiracy on the part of the Shreveport Times to deny their readers any access to thoughtful political discourse. I've met Craig Durrett, Alan English and other members of the Times editorial board, and they seem thoughtful and serious about what they're doing. So why do they continually deny this city's most astute political analysis and urbane witticisms, those of America's greatest living public intellectual and an invaluable natural resource, the Red River Red? Alas, we may never know, but here is yet another well-written, informative and relevant guest column not to be (in the interests of full disclosure, the Red River Red has been elected to the executive board of the Northwest Louisiana chapter of the ACLU since this piece was submitted to the Times):

In the second sentence of his diatribe against the American Civil Liberties Union, Stanley F. Kolniak challenges us to “look at the facts.” He then proceeds to distort the facts to support his portrait of a far-left straw man for the right wing cabal whose representation on the Shreveport Times editorial page seems to be the exact inverse of their grasp of political reality.
Kolniak refers to the ACLU’s founding “in 1920 by Roger Baldwin, a communist sympathizer and pronounced socialist.” I would not argue with that representation of Baldwin… in 1920. Like many people of conscience in that area, still traumatized by the irrational slaughter of World War I and the lies and manipulative propaganda used by President Woodrow Wilson to justify U.S. participation and the unconstitutional persecution of dissidents, Baldwin was infatuated with the humanistic potential of the Russian Revolution and the early years of the Soviet Union. However, Stalin’s purges in the 1930’s and the signing of the Non-Aggression Pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany in 1939 woke Baldwin up to the true nature of the totalitarian society, as it did for so many others. Although the ACLU and its founder continued to advocate for the constitutional rights of Communists, after 1940 members of totalitarian organizations could no longer serve on the board. Additionally, Baldwin was appointed by General Douglas MacArthur a civil liberties consultant in postwar Japan. Although John Birch Society members accused Generals Eisenhower and George Marshall of Communist sympathies, I believe MacArthur’s patriotic credentials were always considered impeccable.
Despite Kolniak’s protests to the contrary, the record most certainly does not indicate that the ACLU is “hell bent to do away with Christianity.” What the ACLU does believe is that “the right of each and every American to practice his or her own religion, or no religion at all, is among the fundamental of the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The ACLU works to ensure religious liberty is protected by keeping the government out of the realm of all religions” (aclu.org).
The ACLU is also called to task by Mr. Kolniak for its disregard for “orderly society” and “overbearing concern for homosexuals, sex offenders, drug pushers, rioters, anarchists, draft dodgers, murderers and others who have broken our laws.” One of the reasons I am a member of the ACLU is precisely because of its insistence that the Constitution, and our society, are strengthened when we fight for the rights of those considered marginal, whether the laws they broke were just or unjust. The recently departed Rosa Parks is one dramatic example of an individual whose disruption of orderly society in Montgomery would almost certainly be cited by Mr. Kolniak and most Americans as justified.
Finally, what is never mentioned by Kolniak is the ACLU’s ongoing leadership on issues ranging from the unconstitutional provisions of the Patriot Act to the illegal detention and torture of terrorism suspects to the fight for retention of voting rights won during the Civil Rights Era. These are some of the front lines in our battles to preserve and strengthen the Constitution and our country. I invite all of you, including Mr. Kolniak, to go to aclu.org and join the ACLU in those battles.

Michael Parker lives in Shreveport and is a card-carrying member of the ACLU.

1 Comments:

Blogger Noma said...

I guess we'd better start a rag of our own.

6:13 AM  

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