One can tell a lot about a group’s supposed convictions when controversial topics arise. A group who professes to believe in constitutional liberties must be willing to defend these rights and protections to all citizens- even to individuals with whom they disagree. If a group advocates one set of principles for themselves and one set of principles for other citizens, they must be outed as the hypocrites that they are.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has long postured as a protector of rights and liberties enjoyed by Americans. Though they have, from time to time, sided with commonsense and landed on the side favored by patriots, the group is known for their cherry-picking of issues to advance their undeniably liberal agenda. From targeting religion in schools to battling Second Amendment rights, the ACLU has, for decades, served more as an anti-freedom group than the alternative.
Case-in-point: the group that supposedly concerns itself with protecting civil liberties has announced that they see no inherent unconstitutional violation in the latest Democrat push to bar people on the arbitrarily-created “terrorist watchlist” from purchasing firearms.
However, the group did weigh-in in favor of instituting reforms upon the government blacklist- a step that is far more reasonable than the current Democrat Party line, but lightyears away from any premise that is compatible with our Constitutional protections.
“There is no constitutional bar to reasonable regulation of guns, and the No Fly List could serve as one tool for it, but only with major reform,” said Hina Shamsi, director of ACLU’s National Security Project.
The group is pushing for reforms to the list that include some semblance of due process. While the term “terrorist watchlist” certainly sounds scary, the list is mainly comprised of arbitrary determinations and has included an astounding number of government workers and even former liberal longtime senator Ted Kennedy.
The list does not rely upon a premise of due process but, instead, is a blacklist to deny American citizens rights that are ironclad and which were intended to be guards against tyrannical government.
Oddly enough, the left has long taken issue with the terrorist watchlist when such a list was used as a tool in the War on Terror. However, now that the same list can be used to strip innocent American citizens of their uninfringeable right to bear arms, Democrats and their counterparts in the media have embraced the list as a means of selective civilian disarmament.
In a 2014 opinion piece, wrote the New York Times editorial board blasted the watchlist’s arbitrary criteria, saying,
“This would be laughable if it weren’t such a violation of basic rights. A democratic society premised on due process and open courts cannot tolerate such behavior.”
However, as Democrats embraced the ban in order to be able to paint Republicans as gun nuts and friends to terrorists, the leftist rag that once served as a beacon of quality journalism opined in a front-page editorial that Republicans, who had earlier voted-down the legislation, had cowardly caved to the gun lobby- the boogeymen that haunt the dreams of liberals.
“Since the Paris attacks, Republicans have been trying to outdo each other in describing how they’d crack down on global terrorism. But when a mass shooting at home calls attention to laws that put guns into the hands of suspected terrorists, they ask for a moment of silence, while taking action that speaks volumes.”
Of course, much must be done about the threat of terrorism (especially here in the United States). Such measures could include ones like that proposed by Donald Trump and could definitely include an absolutely-necessary strengthening of border security.
However, the left has worked to try and link defeating terrorism with revoking the very constitutional rights that help protect citizens from terrorism and government alike.
The ACLU’s position is certainly more-reasonable than the Democrats’ official line, but not by much. Even if we narrow the criteria used to place people on the watchlist, maintaining a blacklist of who does and who does not hold constitutional rights is a dangerous notion that runs contrary to our existence as a free nation.