Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Another Nail into Civil Liberties
A case could be made that the shunting off of legitimate protests to a "free speech area" several blocks away from the convention contributes to the need of people to make themselves heard. When voicing a critical opinion becomes impossible to hear through deliberate suppression, people will find a way to express their dissatisfaction.
It's difficult for me to blame the police. They are following orders and they have all these nice shiny "non-lethal" weapons at their disposal. The military/police mindset is to meet resistance/protest with overwhelming force to subdue it quickly. If some protesters do illegal things, all protesters are lumped together and treated with the same hard fist.
The modus operandi of the law enforcement branches appears to be a variation on "Kill 'em all and let God sort them out." In this case, "Arrest 'em all and release them when they can't participate in protests." Subtleties like due and proper legal processes are left behind when the situation is viewed through the lens of a 24 episode.
The lesson? Civil liberties are disposable when they are inconvenient. Authority and power always trumps rights and free speech. Distinctions between violence and lawful protest are immaterial because both are the same from their viewpoint.
The irony, of course, is this use of force to silence dissenting opinions in our loudly declared prime example of democracy. This dissonance apparently does not trouble many people.
Here are a few stories:
- Massive police raids on suspected protesters in Minneapolis
- Scenes from St. Paul -- Democracy Now's Amy Goodman arrested
- How The Secret Service Turned Into The Stasi
- Update: Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar Released After Illegal Arrest at RNC