ACLU gets a lesson in political correctness
The inquisitors on Twitter never seem to run out of targets for their rage. Even Torquemada wasn't as zealous as the bullies who patrol the internet looking for transgressions against political correctness or, failing to find any, create controversy out of whole cloth.
Case in point: An innocent photo of a young, cute white child wearing a T-shirt sold by the American Civil Liberties Union. The controversy that ensued over this photo would be unbelievable – except it has become standard operating procedure for the Guardians of Goodness on the internet.
Earlier this week, the Twitter account for the American Civil Liberties Union posted an innocuous picture of a toddler wearing a tyke-sized ACLU T-shirt with the words "Free Speech" on the front. The little one was holding a stuffed animal in one hand and a mini American flag in the other. The tweet that accompanied the photo said "This is the future that ACLU members want."
Within moments, the tweet was descended upon from the corners of the outrage twitter-sphere because that's what social media is now. The great social injustice committed here by the ACLU? The child in the picture was white and therefore declared as racist and propping up white supremacists. Senior Guardian columnist Steven Thrasher posted a humorous gif of Blackish star Anthony Anderson crying while others took it a bit more seriously.
But other than a handful of verified twitter users, there wasn't really a catch-fire moment. It wasn't picked up by media outlets or journalists on Twitter. There was a minor firestorm over a picture that attracted scant attention but in the end that didn't matter.
Within the hour, however, the ACLU posted a weird retraction of the image, stating "When your Twitter followers keep you in check and remind you that white supremacy is everywhere," along with a Kermit the Frog gif.
The issue here shouldn't necessarily be that the ACLU apologized for a picture they posted of a child wearing their own "Free Speech" merchandise and calling it white supremacy. It should be how quickly they were willing to placate a mob without any real influence. Other than a couple people with verified twitter accounts, this really wasn't an issue. But of course now it is.
When viewed through a larger lens, it's a troubling pattern in the wake of the Charlottesville protests, where the ACLU has found itself walking a delicate line of speaking out for the rights of speech (everyone's speech, yes, including idiot Nazi role players) while not being accused of being white supremacists themselves and/or finding themselves on the receiving end of a trademarked bottle of Antifa-brand urine bomb.
The ACLU, rightly, did not take the controversy seriously. But what is truly frightening about this incident is that the inquisitors have no conception of what the First Amendment means and why the ACLU defends the free speech rights of everyone from Nazis to black power groups [but not Christian bakers! –DJB].
The attack on the First Amendment by radical left activists is unprecedented. A large, loud, and influential (at least, within the Democratic Party) group of mostly younger people is claiming that the First Amendment must be amended to ban "hate speech" and hate groups from being able to express themselves.
If they are successful, the First Amendment will become meaningless. The only speech allowed will be "approved" speech. The danger is that the next Democratic president could name a sufficient number of Supreme Court justices who would agree with that idea and kill the First Amendment forever.
This is not a secret to conservatives, who already feel the pressure from these radical activists who are shutting down free speech on campus and are looking to go beyond that to influence local governments to ban ordinary conservative and Republican groups from speaking out.
"White supremacy" is the new communism. What the paranoid commie-hunters in the 1950s did for America, the radical leftists are looking to repeat. But unlike Republicans in the '50s and '60s who fought to marginalize the Birchers and others involved in the Red Scare, Democrats are mainstreaming the radicals, who are gradually gaining power within the party.
They are playing with forces they do not understand, or they don't care where those forces are taking the party and America.