Monday, July 26, 2004

Tear Down The Protest Wall

Todd is reporting that, as advertised, the protestors at the convention are literally caged behind a barbed wire fence facing the Fleet Center.  Permitted protesters can do their march-and-slogan thing outside the box, but at sights even more removed from the convention.  He’s seen Kucinich peaceniks, anti-gay nutjobs, and Communists inside the fence (what a mélange!); and Green Party activists outside of it.

Over the last four years, Bush protesters, most of them democrats, have been rightly complaining about exactly this kind of treatment.  When Bush comes to Anytown, USA – often a field set-up 500 yards away is cordoned off and guarded like a prison for those who’d like to voice their displeasure with the president.  In Florida, when there are executions, Jeb Bush gates off “protest zones” outside Stark penitentiary that keep those in opposition to the death penalty separate from its proponents.

Democrats should not be in this business of putting up barbed-wire fences for those wishing to express themselves.  It sends a horrible message  and the organizers should have found a less heavy-handed solution that doesn’t play into the hands of those protesters who wish to be viewed as martyrs, or stifle those with legitimate gripes.

Protesters have a right to be heard by the conventioneers (this process must be always peaceful, not necessarily at all times pleasant).  Conventioneers have a right to their safety.  I refuse to believe there was no other way to ensure both, and if the wall is not torn down by the time Kerry speaks it will be an unmistakable taint on the process of nominating him.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, the bitter tears we cry for those on the outside (or would it be inside, since they're, like, inside a cage?) looking in (or out, as the case may be) upon the productive members of society.

Yes, these folks have a right to free speech and free assembly. They are getting it. Do they like the space they've been given to assemble? Of course not. Then again, I don't like my parking spot at work.

As for the anti-gay nutjobs and communists, I can't say I am too concerned with their real estate complaints. They are getting their chance to be heard. And from the coverage this small, radical minority is getting on TV, plenty of people know where to find them if they want to hear their message. Heck, they can even start a Blog to reach a wider audience. It's free on Blogger, after all. Power to the people!

But when it comes to the Kucinich people and the Green Party? Aren't the Kucinich people INSIDE the building? The Keebler Elf (a.k.a. The Boy Who Bankrupted Cleveland) actually did win delegates. Frightening, I know. But there are still some people in the party who think McGovern was a good candidate.

And the Green Party? Don't they have their OWN convention? I don't see a bunch of khaki-clad Republicans marching on the Fleet Center demanding a flat tax, 1950s-era sexual repression and a cornish game hen in every pot. They know they'll have their say when they get to New York. (But don't you wish the Rs were going to the OLD New York, before Disney took over Times Square and a convention delegate could get a reasonably price prostitute?) The Greenies should pack up their VW buses, pick up some extra weed for the long ride back to Oregon, and go back to spending all their time lamenting the demise of Phish.

8:41 AM  

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