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The Guardians of Liberty By: Michael Tremoglie
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, July 29, 2002

"How can you show ninety seconds of a three minute videotape and say a crime has been committed?" ranted Reverend Al Sharpton to Charlie Gibson during the July 24 edition of Good Morning America. To what was Reverend Al referring? Inglewood, California? Oklahoma City? No, Reverend Al was speaking of a videotape of himself in a conversation about purchasing controlled substances.

Al Sharpton is a staunch advocate of civil liberties. Sharpton believes a segment of video by itself is not sufficient evidence of guilt — except when it comes to white cops arresting a black suspect. In such cases, not only is a video sufficient evidence to convict the cops, it's good enough to indict a whole department.

Al Sharpton is a civil libertarian. He is deeply concerned about John Ashcroft and the Bush Administration violating civil liberties.

Fox News Channel’s Alan Colmes is a staunch advocate of civil liberties. He is concerned about Ashcroft and Bush violating Americans’ civil liberties.

Colmes said on the July 23 "Hannity and Colmes" Show that the Inglewood video is all the evidence you need. He pronounced the cops guilty simply because of the video.

While channel surfing July 22, I watched Phil Donahue interview that grand dame of the Washington Press corps, Helen Thomas. During the interview, Thomas spoke of the Bush administration and civil rights. Thomas commented that she has never seen such a threat to civil rights as this administration. She trotted out the old saw that the problem with Nazi Germany was the silence of the press. Donahue asked Thomas if the current press corps is questioning the Bush administration about violations of civil rights. Thomas replied they have not.

Was Helen Thomas so concerned about the future of the republic and of the civil rights of Americans after Waco? I doubt it. I do not recall Thomas being so vitriolic in comments about Janet Reno. More than eighty Americans who, quoting the liberal Gore Vidal, "were guilty of nothing more than living in a religious commune" were incinerated by the Reno Justice Department. But Helen Thomas was silent.

Both Donahue and Thomas are known to attack conservatives and Rpublicans. \ Why is it that F.A.I.R., which criticizes Limbaugh and the Fox News Channel as being biased, has not been so critical of Donahue or MSNBC? MSNBC cancelled the conservative Alan Keyes program and replaced it with the liberal Donahue.

Continuing my channel surfing to C-SPAN I watched a broadcast of Louis Farrakhan’s "peace mission" press conference. Farrakhan mentioned during his speech that Saddam Hussein was not the cause of racial profiling. Farrakhan claimed President Bush has not even mentioned the issue of racial profiling.

Maybe Farrakhan ought to read the papers. President Bush issued a directive about racial profiling last year. He requested the Justice Department review the practice of racial profiling. Bush mentioned racial profiling during a speech before Congress.

Perhaps Farrakhan has been listening to Helen Thomas. If so, it would probably be the first time Farrakhan believed anything told to him by a Jew. Farrakhan’s comments about the Jewish religion are well known.

How comforting it is to know that these sentinels of civil liberties are so concerned about the policies of the Bush administration. What enviable civil rights records they possess.

Can one imagine what America would be like if these characters were governing the nation?

What would the First Amendment be like with Farrakhan as President? Would he say that there is freedom of religion except for Jews? Would citizens be permitted to criticize Muslims? It is difficult to do that now without being accused of being a bigot. How much more difficult would it be with Farrakhan in the White House?

What about the Fifth Amendment during an administration of Donahue or Colmes or Sharpton? Would they say that the due process clause is valid for everyone or only certain people? If you consider the pronouncements they make about videotaped arrests, I believe it would be reasonable to say that due process would go the way of the dinosaur. What about the Sixth Amendment? Would Colmes, Donahue, Sharpton, et al. feel there should be exceptions?

They would probably interpret the Bill of Rights as being only for the politically correct.

Would Republicans be able to petition their government during a Helen Thomas administration? A Donahue administration?


How fortunate we are that we have such civil libertarians ensuring our liberties.

God Bless America — we're going to need all the help we can get.

Michael P. Tremoglie is the author of the new novel A Sense of Duty, and an ex-Philadelphia cop. E-mail him at elfegobaca@comcast.net.

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