Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Is this freedom?

By Libby

My critics often dismiss my complaints about the Bush administration's relentless destruction of our civil rights by telling me how lucky I am to be living in a free country where I'm able to criticize my government without fear of penalty. They might want to talk to John Nirenberg about that.

John walked from Boston to Washington DC to express his support for impeachment. His wife joined him at the end of the march to stand with him on the steps of the National Archives in a peaceful protest. They weren't allowed to assemble there -- on taxpayer funded property. They were told by guards that this was a place of business and apparently that business doesn't include the right of citizens to hold signs criticizing the president. They didn't make an issue of it and staged a small gathering across the street. But then they wanted to go inside the building and view the Constitution and Bill of Rights so carefully protected for posterity in its state of the art viewing tomb. No luck with that either.
As John's wife Allison reports at the March in My Name site, she was stopped and told she couldn't enter wearing the yellow rain poncho with a protest slogan on it. The slogan -- "Save the Constitution"!*
The rent-a-cop wouldn't provide a copy of the regulation that prohibited her entrance or provide any further explanation. He simply and steadfastly forbade her to enter for wearing a coat that expressed the desire to save the most important document in our history. She finally left without viewing it. How free does that sound to you?

Read the whole story at the link and there's more at The American Street. You can see these are not rabblerousing activists. They are ordinary citizens who were denied their most basic rights. Furthermore, it's not a rare occurrence.

Thus, I say to my critics, we used to be a free country, but that was before this administration instituted perverted the use* of free speech zones. You're only free to assemble, if you agree. Dissent is only allowed by decree within government proscribed corrals, located as far as possible from the president's eyes so as not to disturb, as his mother put it, his beautiful mind.

Who can honestly call that freedom? [via]

[* - Post edited in response to comments.]

No comments: