I saw the movie ‘The Elephant Man’ a long time ago, but it’s stuck with me, in a deep way, as a number of favorite movies have. To those of you I know personally, you will know I am a movie buff. Over the years a handful of ‘disturbing’ movies, those that make you think about subjects and ideas that maybe you really don’t want to think about, tend to stick in your mind. For me, The Elephant Man is one of those.
When I saw it, I was pretty young. It was before Jace, who is now 25, so I would have been in my twenties. Raised in white suburbia, even with a narcissistic mother, I was coddled by most standards. So to learn that some people were born ‘freaks’, sold to carney shows, treated quite literally like animals… I was shocked.
But the real ‘Elephant’ in the room, so to speak, is that we, as humans, always seem to want, even enjoy, putting others down. There has to be a group we vilify, punish, dehumanize.
Now it seems I have trouble NOT seeing the patterns of ostricization, cancel culture, dehumanization in the world around me.
And that’s when I usually hear cases and causes fought by the ACLU. American Civil Liberties Union. The great defender of civil rights.
Yet when I reached out to them, starting in 2017, and a number of times since…I hear they are overworked, underpaid, and just don’t have the bandwidth to fight every civil injustice. In Jace case, they were interested in the communications piece…the interception of information, along the lines of Bonnie Burkharts work. But the entrapments themselves? Not interested. Yes, they definitely know what’s happening…. it just somehow isn’t important enough.
Today I read an email from the ACLU, telling me about their fight against the FBI’s illegal surveillance of Muslim communities post 911. And while I applauded their fight, my thoughts went to – when will the injustice against our men be deemed malicious enough to be fought by the ACLU? What is the defining difference between big brother watching Muslims vs. big brother entrapping innocent men of any religion??
Every man, every person, seeks physical companionship. Every religion. Every race. Every nationality. Every being is hard-wired to procreate. What could possibly be more civil than relationships?
I’m very glad the ACLU is looking out for the civil rights of our Muslim American brothers and sisters. I truly am. I’m just a little confused on the hierarchy of what constitutes a malicious infraction against American civil liberties.
If not now, when? If not the ACLU, then who?