Dave Richards for September 18th…………….
--Before we begin today, I just wanted to express my sadness and deep condolences to the family of Stephanie Chaplin, a wonderful woman who lost a battle with cancer last Sunday.
Stephanie and I shared one thing. Our love for Autumnfest. As a member of the Autumnfest Steering Committee, Stephanie worked with the Autumnfest Souvenirs. It won’t be the same this year without her smiling face in the booth, but I know the members of the Steering Committee will be thinking of her at this 40th Autumnfest. So will I.
--It’s only September, but already I want to SCREAM at the two major political parties in Rhode Island. Yesterday I received another interminable negative and disgraceful press release, this time from the Rhode Island Republican Party characterizing the Democratic Governor’s administration and “Scandal Filled”. They’re all so busy calling the other side creeps, the average voter is left with the impression that there are no trustworthy people of quality running for any office anywhere in government. Knock it off, I say.
--Venom seems to be everywhere in the public debate and on any subject. I’ve always thought that the popular opinion of the American Civil Liberties Union was unfair to them. Before yesterday I had always thought of the ACLU as a group of people who were not afraid to take an unpopular position on issues of public importance if they saw someone’s rights being abused or a law being broken. I was disappointed and disillusioned by their actions yesterday.
The deadline for this column arrived before the North Smithfield Town Council met last night to consider, among other business, a resolution of official support for a boycott against the Nike company, calling upon all departments of their town government to stop buying Nike products. It doesn’t say so, but I suppose it is because Nike has hired as a spokesperson the football player responsible for many players kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem. I don’t know how the town council voted, but that is not important to the point of my comments…
The reason I object to the ACLU’s letter to the town council, warning them not to adopt such a resolution, has little to do with the thinly-veiled threat included in it, but it has everything to do with the what I consider to be an unprofessional comment contained in their press release. I quote, “We recognize that the Town Council is free to express its views, however questionable they may be, on important political issues of the day”. In my opinion, an opinionated comment such as that is unprofessional and has no place in such a letter.
They went on to say, quoting here, “But to the extent any of the Town’s municipal agencies decide to take action consistent with the resolution, the Town and its taxpayers will face both legal and financial liability for violating the First Amendment. A government agency simply cannot ban the purchase of products from a company based solely on its political views.”
I am repulsed and confused by that second quote. I wonder why the ACLU would side with a multi-national corporation and abandon the rights of Rhode Island citizens to refuse to give do business with a company regardless of what their collective reason may be, if they think that company is not the kind of company they want to do business with.
You can say that governments don’t have the same rights as individuals. You can say it, but “No Sale” to me. Our government is made up of individuals…….”of the people and by the people”…. So why does a government agency HAVE to do business with a company if they don’t want to?
In my opinion, the entire concept of the ACLU being the champion of the disenfranchised and the Knight of your Rights is strained by their actions in this matter. And I think that’s a shame because I do think we need what the ACLU’s mission is in our country. I think they missed it this time.
--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: email@example.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.
Thanks for reading.