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Free Speech Zones

Posted by tungtide on July 23, 2008, 2:06 pm

I have heard of the “free speech zone” tacics being used mainly in conjunction with events surrounding Still President Bush.  The idea is that opposing opinions/viewpoints will be pushed aside into designated areas. Those areas are usually away from any motorcade routes and out of view of the venue itself. Media coverage, then, is forced to leave the main event itself in order to cover dissent. John Whitehead at Huffington Post covers the topic with this background:

For example, President Bush’s Presidential Advance Manual outlines the specific strategies his administration has used to “minimize the demonstrator’s effect.” It includes such Orwellian tactics as selling tickets exclusively to presidential supporters and creating “rally squads” of supporters who will surround and drown out protesters with pro-Bush chants. The manual also discusses the strategy of asking local law enforcement to create a designated protest zone, “preferably not in view of the event site or motorcade route.”

This is both incredibly smart and stupid from a political and legal perspective. These tactics do succeed at limiting the interaction of the Persident with those who disagree with him. It also hurts hinders his ability to remain in touch with the common… … … okay, I can’t finish that sentence with a straight face, even behind a keyboard. Since when did this President care about what anyone else thinks?

Also from John Whitehead:

Free speech zones have been employed by both Democrats and Republicans at past political conventions. This year, however, Democrats face the embarrassing possibility that they will be the only party actually caging dissenters. Protesters at the upcoming Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Denver in late August will be corralled into caged “free speech zones” made of chicken wire and chain link fences which are located more than two football fields from the delegates’ entrance. Those who attempt to exercise their First Amendment rights outside this makeshift cage, which is partially obscured by trees and sculptures, will be arrested. (Ironically, protesters at this year’s Republican National Convention will not face a cage or even policemen in riot gear.)

This flies in the face of, well, being an American. Arrested! For speaking out against the views of others. These are not examples of people inciting violence or even promoting “hate speech,” but citizens that are using their Constitutionally-given rights in a peaceful manner. Someone is saying something you don’t like? Too bad. Suck it up and grow up. The answer is never to sweep the issue under the rug, let alone attempt to lock it away.

Protesters are only perceived as dangerous because their message challenges the status quo. It’s the message that is feared.

Both democrats and republicans alike should condemn this kind of behavior, as should their presumptive Presidental candidates.

3 Responses to “Free Speech Zones”

  1. […] bookmarks tagged speech Free Speech Zones saved by 1 others     ilovekikamaru bookmarked on 07/24/08 | […]

  2. I did a special for Comedy Central and I had to take a physical, a verbal physical. A bunch of yes and no questions, but they were strangely worded. Like, “Have you ever tried sugar… or PCP?”

  3. […] on The End of A CrackerJanelle on The End of A CrackerPrison Planet on Free Speech ZonesMary on The End of […]

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