A Card-Carrying Member of the ACLU
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
It’s official. I just became a card-carrying member of the ACLU. If you want a reason, all you have to do is look at the news lately. Oy!
But, that’s not the only reason I joined. I just finished reading a sobering account of the history of civil liberties in the Golden State, Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California by Stan Yogi and Elaine Elinson. (Full disclosure: Stan and Elaine are friends of mine). Wherever There’s a Fight is a prodigious work that tells the stories of those brave individuals who stood up for the noble ideals embedded in the U.S. Constitution. It reminds us of how far we’ve come, and encourages us to fight the good fight. It’s not by accident that the book’s title is derived from John Steinbeck’s proletariat classic, The Grapes of Wrath:
“Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. If Casy knowed, why, I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad an’—I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry n’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when our folks eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build—why, I’ll be there.”
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.