The ACLU muzzle

Glenn Katon may be mistaken when he says that [ACLU Central Chapter president George] Crossley misspoke in the first part of his quote, claiming that impeachment hadn’t been discussed inside the national ACLU [Letters, Dec. 13]; however, I don’t want to get into an argument with him over that. Rather, I would like to address another issue; one that gets to the heart of soul of what the ACLU is supposed to be about: the right of all of us to exercise free speech.

While the second part of George’s statement – “ACLU bigwigs see it [impeachment] as a losing battle” – may be based upon supposition, it also qualifies as an opinion. George has a right to his opinion, however derived, and he has a right to express it, even to the media. He does not give up this right just because he holds an official position in the ACLU.

It’s interesting that the bigwigs in the state of Florida ACLU would go to such efforts to distance themselves from George’s comments. They have even sent board members of the Central Florida Chapter a letter vaguely threatening action against George and the chapter at the January state board meeting over his comments in the Weekly.

Apparently, the hierarchs in the ACLU at the various state levels and at the national level are taking some heat from grass-roots ACLU members who support impeachment and think their leaders should get on board. Both the Lee and Brevard chapters now have voted to endorse Central’s impeachment resolution and state seems to feel some need to reassert control.

I also would like to point out that people take actions, especially when they involve complex issues such as impeachment, for multiple reasons. The national ACLU has a publicly stated rationale for opposing impeachment, which would seem to imply that they indeed have discussed the issue. Their position could be considered, at least by some, to be reasonable, pragmatic and even politically sensible, but it in no way precludes the possibility that decision makers inside the national ACLU indeed also may see pushing for impeachment as “a losing battle.” They just may not care to state that belief publicly for fear of alienating rank-and-file ACLU members and supporters.

So I don’t think George’s opinion or his action in expressing it in the media can be called “completely” or partly wrong, even if it may be based upon supposition.

Ben Markeson, Orlando

No more war

We recently learned that in last couple of months President Bush has been actively misleading us about Iran [“The coming attack,” Nov. 29].

I, for one, will not stand by and watch him lead us directly into a war without any evidence to back him up. He has known for months that Iran has no nuclear weapons program, yet stated he “only learned of the new intelligence assessment last week.”

Instead of running the country on logic, he’s ignoring intelligence and pushing for another war in Iran just like he did with Iraq.

Nick Palmer, Orlando

God, we are stupid

I know that homophobes come in all shapes and sizes (and professions), but how upsetting that an elementary teacher [quoted in the story], given her position to influence many young people, should be so ignorant [“Gimme one good reason,” Dec. 13]. All that nonsense about God and religion (who, pray tell, do you think created Steve?) is just a convenient way to promote bigotry without feeling guilty about it.

God help the poor children left under that woman’s supervision, and let’s hope that reason and decency play a greater role in shaping their minds than some backward, hateful, second-grade teacher who is as capable of interpreting the Bible as she is a Dick and Jane book.

There’s a reason the rest of the developed world is so much more progressive on [the issue of gay marriage] than the folks in Florida; it’s called having brains. And apparently too many people in the state of Florida lack them.


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