Concerto for blunt instrument

An irregular heartbeat from d.o. to you. Not like a daily kos, more like a sometime sloth. Fast relief from the symptoms of blogarrhea and predicated on the understanding that the world is not a stage for our actions, rather it is a living organism upon which we depend for our existence.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Prison of protest

I’ve just returned from a close encounter with a “free speech” zone. In the city, in the state advertised as the birthplace of American democracy, free speech (a constitutional right, if I’m not mistaken) has been placed in chains. Boston, the alleged home of the American Revolution and all the flag-waving, patriotic hyperbole that goes with it, has fabricated what may well be the most ironic replica of the state of democracy in the U.S. today: the “Free Speech” Zone.

 I know, you thought the continental United States itself was a free speech zone, right?  Well, times have changed in the so-called post- 9/11 world. Like so many of our constitutional rights, free speech and freedom of assembly have been repackaged, restricted, and regurgitated through the machinations of the security state and shadowy operations like the Secret Service, the FBI and the Department of Fatherlan…umm..., Homeland Security  . The result in Boston is the erection of a completely enclosed steel cage, totally isolated from the street and surrounded by guards, holding only 1,200 citizens who must enter and exit its small gateways nearly on their knees to exercise their supposed right to free speech. Orwell would be pleased. The irony seems lost on no one but those who create such a monstrosity.

Frankly, even though I’ve been an eyewitness to the ongoing erosion of our constitutional rights over the past decade or so, I’m finding this all very hard to believe. I guess, in a way, it’s like watching those planes fly into the World Trade Towers: it’s surreal, like watching a film of reality. Now we are watching a film about the end of democracy. And, to add irony to irony, this is done by the hand of those who claim to be bringing democracy to the rest of the world; at the hand of the Bush regime and their minions who seldom miss the opportunity to say that terrorists “hate our freedom”.

After taking part in a protest march Sunday with a few thousand fellow citizens by the fortified Fleet Center in Boston where the Democratic National Convention begins today; after viewing the prison of protest where free speech has been incarcerated, this citizen is now fully prepared to believe that we, as a nation, are on the cusp of becoming a total police state. Last year I would not have said “total”. This year I’m not so sure.


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Thank You. Can you post any case law helpful in defeating this outrage.

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