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12/15/2003 Archived Entry: "Bovard on "Free-Speech Zones""

AND JUST IN TIME FOR BILL OF RIGHTS DAY comes the latest James Bovard article -- this one on so-called Free-Speech Zones where demonstrators (usually only anti-Bush demonstrators) are shunted out of sight of the president and the media. Those who insist on exercising free speech outside the fenced, barricaded, isolated zones are charged with trespassing and other crimes and may be reported to the FBI as possible terrorists.

As usual, Jim finds the story behind the story. As in this sample:

The feds have offered some bizarre rationales for hog-tying protesters. Secret Service agent Brian Marr explained to National Public Radio, "These individuals may be so involved with trying to shout their support or non-support that inadvertently they may walk out into the motorcade route and be injured. And that is really the reason why we set these places up, so we can make sure that they have the right of free speech, but, two, we want to be sure that they are able to go home at the end of the evening and not be injured in any way." Except for having their constitutional rights shredded.

Marr's comments are a mockery of this country's rich heritage of vigorous protests. Somehow, all of a sudden, after George W. Bush became president people became so stupid that federal agents had to cage them to prevent them from walking out in front of speeding vehicles.

And just think. We imagined it was bad when Bill Clinton had people investigated for barking "You suck!" At least, back in those sweetly nostalgic days, presidents could still hear Americans who had opinions other than their own.

Posted by Claire @ 04:31 PM CST

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