Sunday, June 30, 2013

The 1st Amendment Isn't What it Use to Be

Today I watched a documentary on Free Speech TV

Denver in 5 Days

It is a documentary that details the planning and the actual demonstrations at the 2008 DNC convention in Denver.

I came away dismayed.

Police infiltration of the protest planning.
Phone tapping of the protest planners.
Labeling ordinary citizens using their first amendment rights as terrorists.
Intentional illegal detention by the Denver police.
Uncalled for violence by the Denver police
Denver PD doing everything to make the situation more confrontational than it needed to be.

My uncle was the town cop in the town that I grew up in.  I didn't think anything of it.

I grew up watching nonviolence turn into violence

I chose the path of activism.

My final distrust of cops started on May 4, 1970 when protestors the same age as me were gunned down - becauseetheycould

Those memories were coupled with today.
A today ~~~~ that I'm not especially proud of.
I feel as if we have regressed to pre-1965.
There's not much difference in police behavior between that tape in 1965 and today.
We can longer count on law enforcement for protection.

And that is coupled with stories about:

And I thought about my own experience at the ALEC protest in Snottsdale. 
   The overreaction by the police
   Phoenix/Scottsdale  PD doing everything to make the situation 
      more confrontational than it needed to be.

Peacable Assemblies
Citizens who are labeled criminals / terrorist and branded guilty – without any presumption of innocence.

It was very disheartening.
Especially when you consider the facts that theses are ordinary citizens using the rights given to them in the first amendment of a constitution that is supposed to be for WE THE PEOPLE.
Especially when you consider that the American Legislative Exchange Council is the real terrorist in terms of destroying our American representative democracy.  And yet no one is investigating them or phone tapping them or arresting them.

But the thing that really stuck with me – from the documentary in relation to the upcoming protest in Chicago – August 7 -9 – against ALEC was said by a reporter near the end of the documentary and it went something like this: 

If you’re only goal is to protest – just show up – you’ve met your goal.
If your goal is to bring people to your point of view – you better know how you are going to do that – before you go to the protest.

The ALEC first four ALEC protests had teach-in sessions before each protest that accomplished the second goal – to bring people to your point of view.

Based on the lack of planning I am seeing with the Chicago protest – it appears the only purpose there is to protest.
That’s really too bad.

I keep thinking about this post and while driving to work this morning and my title is incorrect.
It should be
The 1st Amendment Isn't what it was meant to be.

Cause I guess you could say for the past fifty years - the 1st amendment has denigrated rather than celebrated.

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