Sunday, May 4, 2008

More On The Texas Polygamy Scare and The Civil Liberties Non-Scare

I have recently compared the troubling invasion by the Texas government of the polygamist sect near Eldorado, Texas, to our federal government's invasion of, and war on, the country of Iraq. I have yet another analogy. Yes, at the risk of creating confusion by making yet another comparison, sort of like mixing my metaphors, or similes, or whatever they are, I must say that this other related comparison comes to mind: Our relative silence and seeming disgregard or lack of concern for civil liberties, in the face of this polygamy and child abuse scare, reminds me of how our national fear of terrorism earlier permitted most of us to stand idly by while our Congress cowardly enacted the Patriot Act.

Thus I was rather encouraged upon finding, and listening to, the following, enlightening Lawyer to Lawyer radio show, hosted by Massachusetts lawyer, journalist and blogger Bob Ambrogi:

LegalTalkNetwork - Religion, Polygamy & the Law

In this discussion, it was great to hear the voice of lawyer and social critic Wendy Kaminer, and also that of a Texas lawyer involved in this case, Betsy Branch, who is one of a number of lawyers who has volunteered to represent, pro bono, some of the many adversely affected children. I'm glad to discover from this broadcast that Wendy Kaminer had already said, well before and much better than I did, in her April 21 blog post, The Free For All - Defending Mormon Polygamists: The ACLU Squeaks Up, that the ACLU really needs to speak up loudly and clearly, and that we all should be concerned about the huge civil liberties issues raised by this troubling case in Texas.

But in the radio interview, Wendy Kaminer goes even further. She says much more than the limited space permitted her to say on her blog, and she very well articulates many of the civil liberties concerns I think we all should have. It's really worth a listen, especially if, like me, you are not yet resigned to defeat in the never-ending struggle for restoration or preservation, if not expansion, of civil liberties and constitutional rights, even in this dark, post-Patriot Act era.

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