I’ve started several posts in the past week, then put them aside hoping a better idea would develop, something more inspiring. But punctuating the news nearly every day is a report that American citizens exercising the right to peacefully express dissent, have been met with an episode of government-sanctioned intimidation or violence. If that’s continuing because people disagree with the protesters, we’re being precariously short-sighted.
Yes, we’re politically polarized and that’s a big issue, but for this – what difference does it make? Violent revenge for expressing one view today will be the same for tomorrow’s variances, and will be fine tuned over time into our government’s unopposed economic and legislative overreach. Bipartisan support for the First Amendment, now, could prevent the fearful, imposed illusion of solidarity in the future.
Whatever our values, beliefs, and principles may be, whether as individuals, small groups or as a people, whether religious, political or societal … we need to be able to express our feelings peacefully without any expectation of violence from our government. We have a guarantee for that, and it has worked just fine for the 30,000 pickets, in all 50 states, in over 500 cities and towns for the Westboro Baptist Church, even though as a society we’re overwhelmingly aligned against their expression.
But we’re so stubbornly partisan over the yet to be defined objectives of recent protesters, that protecting our constitution is being dangerously set aside in favor of petty name calling. If you have surmised the demands of the Occupy protesters and are against them, so be it. But think for a minute about what else you wouldn’t support, or better still, consider something you find completely unacceptable that your great-grandchildren could face. That’s my point … we can’t know right now how the American people will be affected by the seemingly systematic violence used to deny our right to protest what is perceived as corruption or faulty governmental policy.
Enforcing local curfew ordinances? If that’s what you think this is about, step back and take a look at the big picture. Military style attacks on unarmed citizens are taking place across America. For what? It shouldn’t matter.
Willful suppression of the people’s voice is a side issue that has nothing to do with the Occupy movement’s purpose, your politics or mine. Today, we should all have at least two things in common – red blood and the desire for Americans now and in the future to be able to express dissent without being shot at or gassed. It’s that simple, and that should be inspiring enough.