My Parting of Ways with the ACLU

May 14, 2012 at 9:41pm

Following is a letter I wrote to:


Anthony D.  Romero, Executive Director

American Civil Liberties Union

125 Broad Street, 18th Floor

New York, NY  10004


Dear Director Romero,


I have been an ACLU supporter since the organization stood up for me and 287 fellow students after we were arrested in early 1969 at San Fernando Valley State College (now CSUN).  Your tireless, consistent involvement in issues to advance the growth and deepening of the process we call democracy, and opposition to forces that would reverse that advance, has always served well my personal desire to seek more meaningful freedom and justice for all our fellow humans.


Apparently I'm slow on the uptake, but I learned only recently that the ACLU supported the winning side in the abhorrent SCOTUS decision in the 2010 case of Citizens United v FEC.  I was shocked and dismayed.  My first thought: it must be a hoax.


My research revealed debate within the ACLU, yet ultimately a stance that says: "money equals speech" prevailed.  If money equals power, the ACLU is saying: “power equals speech”.  That is precisely what happened with the outcome of this SCOTUS decision.  How can that view preserve democracy?  Despite your April 2010 policy revision, another two years of time has only added to my incredulity.  The ACLU had option to ignore this issue, yet nowhere in your newsletters have I found news, much less justification of this outrage.


Taking the position that "money contributions are a form of political speech" is like saying atom bombs are a form of noisemakers.  Certainly the bomb makes a lot of noise, but as even an idiot would know, noise is not the intent.  Corporations indeed are groups of people, people who already get to vote –same as any citizen.  Unless the “money equals speech” concept is put to an end, what is obvious from just these three words alone is that free speech will come to an end in the foreseeable future.  You have facilitated a death-threat to democracy.


Therefore, despite my many years of devotion and financial assistance, in view of the foregoing, and barring some sort of intelligible explanation, it is with considerable sadness that I will need to find, in place of the ACLU, another recipient, one worthy of my support.


Stephen E. Fowler