we still remember mitch hedberg

A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

Jul 26th 2003

original intent

The ACLU has come out with a new ad campaign, as a recent press release attests:

“School may be out, but lessons in civil liberties are continuing in the ACLU’s two new national TV ads featuring schoolchildren who question the government’s restrictions on basic freedoms in the name of national security.”

View the “Founding Father” ad by clicking here. It is a doooozy. (You’ll need Real Player to view it.)

This ad, presented in eerie black and white hues, begins with an unseen instructor asking the class “What makes the Constitution so special?”

Young students provide answers.
“It protects our rights.”
“Like my right to privacy.”
“And my right to free speech.”

(We’ll ignore for the moment that “privacy” isn’t actually in the Constitution, but an “emanation” that was discovered in the past 30 years by the Supreme Court.)

It is at this moment in the thrilling dialogue of 12 year-old Ben Franklins that a young woman starts ranting against a new law that lets “the police search our homes without even telling us…They can force libraries to tell them what you’re reading.” Another student is grieved that they can find out “what we do on the internet.”

(uh-oh…better stop visiting pr0n sites at the library!)

A young girl adds that under the law the government can “find out tons of private info on kids like us and our families.”

(Leaving one to only hope that little Suzy’s credit report is squeaky clean…what on earth could John Ashcroft find out? That this cute girl is in the hole for $1.35 in milk-money?)

The youngsters then ask: “Wasn’t the whole idea of the Constitution to guarantee our rights…and protect us from stuff like that?”

In a dramatic conclusion, a “founding father” emerges from the shadows and sorrowfully proclaims: “That was the original idea.”

The humor of this entire shenanigan is that the only pre-pubescents who even know about the “unconstitutional” anti-terrorism laws are those who the ACLU paid to be in the ad.

I will say this though, the ACLU seems to have pulled a lot of punches with the ad text. A few suggestions to liven up the ad:

– The opening question should be “What makes the Constitution so freaking cool?”
– Among the rights rattled off (free speech, privacy, etc), insert a young boy saying “And my right to sodomy.”
– A student could be dismayed that the government “can even look at our report cards.”
– There is a glaring absence of any obvious Muslim children. At least one needs to be featured complaining that under the law “They even questioned my older brother about his enrollment in flight school with some guy named Atta.” To which a young girl can scream “No way!”

The saddest line of the ad comes at the end: “The ACLU….Because freedom can’t protect itself.”

Don’t they get it??? Freedom is protected by the blood and courage of others, not by lawyers who defend the right to burn flags.

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