Nadine Strossen: How can American citizens protect their civil liberties?

You don't need lots of money or connections to move the political machine, Strossen says.
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TRANSCRIPT

Question: How can American citizens protect their civil liberties? 

Nadine Strossen:  Every person in this country and not only citizens, but in particular non-citizens at this time really has to be aware of the issues and I mean this is not different from what it has always been…really has to be aware of the issues, has to lobby members of Congress or members of their state legislature or city council, whatever their arena of government is and one thing that has been amazing to me is I have been actively engaged is how much of an impact a small group of people can have. I guess it is the silver lining to the cloud of most people in our country or too many people in our country not even voting, let alone doing something more active and it really was astounding to me. I think a lot of people think that you have to have a lot of money or some special access and yet so many elective officials really listen to what their constituents say. That should not…in my own view, that should not be completely determinative because a lot of my issues are probably supported only by a minority of people, but you know that it is enough to get it on the radar screen to get your issues attended to seriously and certainly, one of the things that ACLU is doing is public opinion surveys and focus group polling to tell members of Congress that contrary to their story types and their fears, people do value privacy and are very angry at the domestic spying and are very angry that the telephone companies are getting off the hook and one want Guantanamo to be shut down and don’t want kangaroo courts. It is very interesting because right after 09/11, and for a couple of years after 09/11, people kept saying that they were happy to give up their freedoms in order to preserve national security. That is not the case anymore and that has not been the case for several years and it is not the case on these specific issues. So, if people make that demonstratably clear by sending the emails and the phone calls to their members of Congress or other politicians, they really can have an impact. [Inaudible] I would like to say you are going to have an impact if you don’t do something. So, do you want to have…make the affirmative choice to have the impact?

 

Recorded On: 2/14/08