Tyrades! Filtering The ACLU

Friday, May 29, 2009

By now you've probably heard that the American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and Knox County Schools for using Internet filter software that blocks non-erotic websites devoted to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender individuals (LGBT).

As a journalist, a seeker of knowledge, and someone who suffered under the heavy-handed censorship of high school skits, I have a grudging admiration for what the ACLU is attempting to do for the First Amendment. But I must share with you the things that gall me about the litigation.

The kooky ACLU plays the old "Support us even when it's distasteful, because someday YOU may be the one who needs us" gambit way too often. Yeah, and someday I may need the guy who wears a garbage can lid on his head and talks in Swahili to his invisible 6-foot rabbit friend, but I'm willing to take my chances.

The ACLU thinks it's so hip and progressive, but they're clueless in so many ways. They're probably thinking, "We haven't received the dues from the Sodom and Gomorrah branch in ages. I wonder what's up with that?"

Progressive? In some ways the ACLU is going backwards. Society has recently started denouncing obnoxious sports parents who think their kids can do no wrong, but now the taxpayers must provide unfettered Internet access for support groups to assure LGBT youths that THEY can do no wrong.

I understand that humans need support groups, but support groups generally help you OVERCOME something, like alcohol addiction or crippling grief. They're not designed to help you score tickets to Elton John's Jacuzzi.

Students have chafed under the Internet filters because they can't research gay marriage debates, find out about anti-discrimination laws, or track down LGBT scholarships. That's right -- there are actually sodomy scholarships. Maybe I could've made it through college a lot cheaper if I had admitted to coveting my neighbor's donkey or making a graven image of a locust.

Remember the old days when you got a scholarship for saying "I maintained a perfect 4.0 average while taking advanced placement classes" or "I lettered in four sports"? Now "I've always felt...different" starts the money flowing.

I'm tired of all the allusions to Orwell's "1984" and Chinese communications embargoes in regards to the Internet filters. Rabid ACLU supporters are making it sound like filtering school computers will drive students to back alleys to buy their Liza Minnelli albums! If LBGT sites are declared essential to education, what's to stop someone from requiring schools to promote "Dogs: Man's Best 'Friend With Benefits'" websites?

Some ACLU supporters mock concerned parents as overprotective "See no evil, hear no evil..." dullards for allegedly wanting their kids to turn out as carbon copies of themselves. I suppose it's better for parents to sit at graduation and hear a well-wisher gush, "Wow! You must be proud! A chip off the ol' Ellen DeGeneres, eh?"

I truly hope the schools and plaintiffs can reach an amicable solution that will foster fairness and the free flow of information. I just want the ACLU to know how disgusted some of us are with a policy of letting support websites reassure LGBT students "God made me this way" -- when an ACLU cease-and-desist order would surely hit a teacher who gave God credit for making anything ELSE.

Note: Danny Tyree welcomes e-mail at tyreetyrades@aol.com.