Just read about the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) writing and releasing a open letter to Trump explaining how many of his campaign promises threaten various parts of the US Constitution, established law, and international agreements. Afterwards I wondered how many people really know what the ACLU stands for and fights for.
In conservative circles the ACLU is seen as a threat to all things red, white and blue. But in more open minds the ACLU is viewed as a group of active attorneys whose mission is to help ensure the people’s rights as guaranteed by the Constitution. In doing so, however, they have often taken positions that some fail to understand. The example that comes to mind is their defense of a neo-Nazi group in Skokie, IL. A lot of people don’t understand that the Constitution says we have a right to assemble, but it doesn’t exclude Nazis.
The ACLU also defended the controversial and much hated Westboro Baptist Church when authorities tried to stop them from public protesting veteran funerals. The Supreme Court agreed with the ACLU that even hated protest is protected protest.
About ten years ago I was in an argument with a bunch of conservative old men and they began bashing the ACLU. It became obvious that they really didn’t know much about the ACLU other than as conservatives they weren’t supposed to like them. So, for the next day I put together a test consisting of twenty issues the ACLU had fought for. No place in the test did I mention the ACLU. All I asked my friends to do was agree or disagree with each issue’s worth in defending.
To my pleasure most of the people who took the test agreed with most positions taken by the ACLU. Next day, after compiling the information, I revealed what they had participated in and that most of them agreed with the ACLU. Some were hesitant to believe so I showed them several of the cases and the supporting documentation. In the end most agreed that the ACLU was an okay outfit. In the other end, the change of attitude didn’t take and slowly the ACLU became a target for their political fears.