Sunday, September 7, 2008


Yesterday was beautiful and I went out midday to enjoy the sunshine.
Today is rainy and I'll probably stay in and enjoy the productivity.
There's something to enjoy and for which to be thankful in every day.

In catching up on a few days of e-mail I realize how much I am thankful for the rights of free speech and assembly for those who choose to use them properly, and how those rights appear to be endangered.

Though they chose not to post a comment here, there are several who sent me e-mails saying:
  • ALL people who were victims of police brutality in Denver and St. Paul deserved it.
  • That, even after being shown reports from several news sources, they were convinced that those sources had ulterior motives and were not reliable.
  • ALL protestors must have been members of radical groups that forced police to take drastic actions.
  • Americans shouldn't exercise their right to lawfully assemble or to speak out against war. Literally: Those who would assemble and speak out should "stay home".

As the two major candidates express their homogenized platforms, effectively lulling the masses into a factless, statisticless, glazed-over stupor, the population that demands government accountability, focus on international trade imbalances, cessation from unjust war, solutions to joblessness and alternative energy here in the United States, is furious and frustrated, and, even while expressing that in a lawful and permitted manner, is silenced by force.

I agree that those who caused damage, broke demonstration area lines, and blocked delegate busses from reaching the convention, all provoked police action. If that was their goal they certainly achieved it. In spades.

Still, I am proud that groups like "Funk the War" and "Military Families Speak Out", among others, stood up and spoke out in law abiding ways. I hold a strong belief in non-violence and peaceful demonstration. Citizens here have a right to be heard.

What is unfortunate is that peaceful groups got treated the same way as destructive groups. Of course, so did innocent observers, journalists, bikers and select St. Paul "hippie" residents in their own homes.

Today I am thankful that the conventions are over, that the police state has abated for now, and that both police and protestor have time to evaluate the actions and reactions that led to such horrific scenes.

Now is the time to "stay home", all of us. Reflect on what you've heard and what you've seen. Set aside the grand-standing and pomp. Push to fill in the facts on those hole-filled platforms. Think about your willingness to live with what is being proposed. Take in what each candidate's idea of leadership means to you.

And, if you are ever moved to take a stand against your government and legally, peacefully, demonstrate or verbalize your feelings, think about how you may be treated, and what that says of our "inalienable rights" of speech and assembly.

Today, in Michigan, I am thankful for the quiet, cleansing, rainy day.

No comments: