An Open Letter to the ACLU

Look, I know you need money and I know you’re busy fighting the good fight. This has been very evident from the ten phone calls I’ve received from your organization this past week. You have asked for an “Edward” or a “Mr. Champion” and the hell of it is that I don’t even recall giving you my phone number during those years when I filled out the form and did, in fact, send you some money. In fact, I left the Home Phone # field deliberately blank. My phone number is listed in the Do Not Call registry. Do these not so subtle clues not indicate to you that I consider talking with hucksters on the telephone about as much fun as being electrocuted by a particularly aggressive CIA torturer?

But being a fairly polite gentleman, I have told you that Edward Champion is not here or that he is in volunteering his services to a leper colony or that it is “currently a sensitive time for us in the Champion household because our pet rabbit just died.” I have tried to intimate with these creative prevarications that I am currently not interested in giving your organization money — in large part because your organization appears to have violated the very civil liberties it purports to uphold (i.e., ferreting out and calling a telephone number that I did not, in fact, give you sanction to call). Bad enough that you folks can’t seem to take the hint and that you can’t seem to scratch my name off your list, but I am also troubled by the belligerent tone that your many representatives voice when they slowly figure out that the man they are talking to may, in fact, be Mr. Champion. They are angry when I refer to their pleas for membership renewal as a “sales call.” Which it quite rightly is, given that you are asking me for money. I am certainly not asking you for money. Perhaps I should start doing this to level the playing field.

Furthermore, why does your organization presume that it’s entitled to money from me? Why are there hostile suggestions that I should be a good liberal and pony up the dough? Do you honestly believe that I am not doing my part? There are, in fact, gestures I commit on a perennial basis that don’t involve a monetary transaction: things that I try to do when I have the time that I feel rather embarassed revealing because I try to keep such acts as egoless as possible. As ACLU founder Roger Nash Baldwin once said, “The smallest deed is better than the grandest intention.” Do you not know your own history?

Because of this, I don’t think I will be giving you money in some time until you can straighten up your act and treat your past donors with something a little closer to courtesy. I will not be giving you money unless you stop this aggressive fundraising approach. I will not be giving you money until you get away from this “you are either with us or against us” mentality common to both left and right these days. In short, I will not be giving you money until you can put the civil back into the ACLU.

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