“The People’s Lobbyists”
I remember when I was a teenager, all the networks had convention coverage all day long and it was a great way to get me out of the house during the last week in July. Now, the major networks give us one hour in prime time (there’s always cable) for celebs like the Clintons (to quote SF Gate columnist Mark Morford, “come back, Clinton Sex Nation”). However, what strikes me most about the coverage is the implementation of a full blown police state in Boston and the caging of free speech.
Check newspaper photos of the “protest pen”– a cage, resembling the detention area of Guantanamo, with razor wire, chain link fence, wire netting over the top. This is an affront to the first amendment–the right of people to peaceably assemble for redress of grievances–and was somehow upheld by the courts after being challenged by ALCU and others. And this was for only about 3000 individuals wishing to express their views to the Dem convention delegates. What is going to happen when 4 times that many want to give a message to the Republicans? Media Benjamin of “Code Pink” and Global Exchange, says we should stop using the word “protesters” and instead say “the people’s lobbyists.” I couldn’t agree more.
Here’s the word from the Kucinich delegates on the convention floor: they were not allowed (by the Kerry security squad) to wear “peace scarves” or to have any signs that mention the word “peace.” This is too off-message for Mr. Kerry and company. Very sad that such a strong popular force for anti-militarism and anti-imperialism, (much stronger in mainstream politics than it was in the sixties “protest” era), trying to operate “within the system” has been so thwarted.
And the Dems, while not denouncing the caging of free speech, will also not mention a timeline for withdrawing troops from Iraq or anywhere else. How can America, or the world, even get the message of our dissent, when we have to fight even to EXPRESS our dissent?
Oh dear. Next time I write about Tango!