The ACLU's inconsistencies can furiously frustrate. How can they be so right...and yet, so wrong?
First, when State representative, John Adams (great name, I know), arranged for a high schooler, Elisabeth Trisler, to receive a routine legislative resolution of achievement on the floor of the Ohio House, Speaker Armond Budish refused to allow the event. Why? Because Elisabeth won the National Right to Life Oratory Contest. And Speaker Budish “had a problem with the subject matter,” according to the House clerk.
In other words, Speaker Budish is pro-abortion and prefers not to recognize high school students who disagree. Ohio Right to Life Executive Director, Mike Gonidakis, rightly called out Speaker Budish. "Perhaps his (Budish's) real message to Ohio's teens is that excelling in public speaking isn't worth being honored if their views are different than his." So much for the quaint old notion of the free exchange of ideas.
If free speech is not valued in a state's legislature, where might it find life? More embarrassing to Speaker Budish, Ms. Trisler was not even being invited to address the House but rather merely being celebrated for her oratorical achievements.
The ACLU of Ohio Executive Director, Christine Link, criticized the Speaker's move for creating a "troubling precedent." Ms. Link pointed out the troubling totalitarian approach of the Speaker. "Instead of teaching young people that the answer is to silence those who disagree with us, legislators should be modeling how to address difficult issues thoughtfully and listen respectfully to others." Well done. Score one for the ACLU.
Budish backed down and agreed to recognize Trisler. It is heartening indeed to see the ACLU stand for free speech. That should be the mission and goal of any group who values personal liberty, protecting America's precious freedom of speech, not to mention the freedom to disagree.
However, on the other hand, it is hard to comprehend how the ACLU has gotten it so wrong in California, unless the obvious geographic distinction between Ohio and California provides explanation enough.