Of the many things I find incomprehensible about the American right wing, their hatred of the ACLU is very near the top of a long and depressing list. That a party which claims reverence for the Constitution and professes distrust of big government reviles an organization dedicated to protecting people's rights from government overreach has always seemed absolutely self-contradictory. Hypocritical. Nonsensical. Inconsistent.
Punishing students for wearing T-shirts with the American flag is a clear violation of their free speech rights. The ACLU of Northern California responded to the incident by sending a letter (PDF) to Morgan Hill Schools Superintendant Dr. Wesley Smith, reminding him of the speech rights students are entitled to under the U.S. Constitution and California law.
A PDF of the more formal letter sent to the school is here. This shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with the actual ACLU, as opposed to the movement conservative caricature of it.
Of all the people whose natural inclination you'd think would be strong support of such a group, it ought to be so-called conservatives, libertarians, and, if they knew the first thing about anything, teabaggers. Protectors of civil liberties, willing to stick out their necks, to do the unpopular thing in the name of constitutional rights: could such a group be more American, more desirable, more, ferchrissakes, conservative?
I simply can't fathom it.
Well, of course I can. Congressional Republicans, the RWS™, and most of those who support and believe them, have no more love for the Constitution than they have understanding of it. They only love the law when it's convenient, when it applies to them; not to the poor, the brown, the black, the gay, the female, the non-Christian. Any people they don't like. Of that, they really hate to be reminded. Which is what the ACLU does, every day, across the political spectrum. We're a nation of laws, it says; laws that need to be applied equally, to majorities, minorities, rich, poor, powerful and weak.