I'm Just Sayin' - Where is the ACLU when it is really needed?
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been around in one form or another since 1920. It was founded on the intent and belief that citizens should have an advocate for freedom of speech and constitutional rights of freedom of expression. Over the years, the ACLU has done much good and also many things that have created a great deal of controversy about its purpose and mission. It has infuriated both liberals and conservatives about its actions and positions.
By its charter and mission, the ACLU is engaged in representing and supporting the civil liberties of Americans. Those liberties come in the form of speech, self-expression and a variety of individual rights as the ACLU interprets them in the U.S. Constitution. It has been engaged in issues of public policy, governmental policy and workplace policy.
I have often wondered why the ACLU dives into some issues and not others. For instance, why does it bring lawsuits against local and state governments for displaying the Ten Commandments in public places and then says nothing about a Florida judge who rules that Islamic Sharia law can be used as precedent when deciding court cases in the U.S. Isn't Sharia law a religious-based theology? If so, why is that not a violation of the "separation of church and state," as they so routinely like to refer?
By the way, the Constitution says nothing about this separation of church and state. It only refers to the U.S. government as not having the right to impose a religion on its citizens; but that's for another debate.
One of the most egregious violations of personal liberty has occurred recently, but the ACLU has done nothing and said nothing about it, and it appears they will not do so in the future. This relates to workplace freedom of expression and the heavy-handed way an employee was dealt with by management.
Here are the facts: On three separate occasions in 2012, an employee of the Social Security Administration located in Maryland was reprimanded and the case has gone so far as to discipline the employee with an official "letter of reprimand." What is the cause of this unprecedented act of boss against employee? The cause of all this high-handed treatment was the employee's "excessive workplace flatulence." That's right - you got it - workplace f..t..g! My gosh! Isn't that a human right and could also be defined as a freedom of expression (well, maybe not a freedom of expression). As George Costanza on the Seinfeld show would say, "Oh, the humanity!"
Where is the ACLU in this? Why has it not risen up to defend the worker and his rights? What has this country come to when a natural body function is cause to reprimand and potentially dismiss an employee? If we can't take care of this simple liberty, how can we fix the economy and deal with international politics? Are you as disgusted with this as I am?
Hopefully, by now you have realized the cynicism and light-hearted content of this column. If you have taken the above column too seriously - lighten up! But, the facts are true.
I'm just sayin'.
DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.