Sunday, October 17, 2010

An unbalanced truth

By Capt. Fogg

Seems like yesterday when criticizing George Bush was close enough to treason that the police would get involved. I remember people walking out of a Jon Lovitz stand-up routine when he made some mild crack about Bush's garbled English. I remember tirades on TV when Streisand aired her opinions of the president. I remember grumbling in the movie theater lobby after a showing of "W" about how "you shouldn't criticize a president like that." There were the Dixie Chicks, and there were the Radio bloviators out there bashing liberals as though freedom of speech were some Marxist plot. The word treason, the accusation of "emboldening" and giving aid and comfort to some amorphous enemy was given enough air time to warm the climate for real.

I remember audiences for Bush's town hall meetings being vetted to make sure flattering questions were the only ones asked. I remember protesters being herded into "free speech" zones behind barbed wire and miles from anywhere the President might be. I remember people being escorted from the premises by armed policemen simply because of a bumper sticker on the car they arrived in.

Many people persist in telling us that such things are common on "both sides" yet I do not remember anyone being escorted away from the current president for carrying signs advocating killing "his ugly wife and stupid children" nor for carrying guns. It's perhaps the most false of the false equivalences that constitute political dialogue today.

Of course if you want to tell me the courts share the blame, I'll agree. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the US Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of two Colorado residents who were excluded unwillingly from a speech by President Bush in 2005 because White House aides saw them arrive in a car with a bumper sticker that proclaimed: “No More Blood For Oil.”

Do we attribute this slap in the face for the First amendment to the Bush Police State? Certainly it wasn't the only one, but Bush is gone and the highest court seems to think we won't care that they don't care enough to hear the case.

So is it now that the freedom to have a bumper sticker on your car -- that is the freedom to criticize the government, to petition the government, to print your opinions for all to read can simply be washed away by a government that can't be bothered to listen to it? Stare decisis?

I don't know about you, but no matter how conservative, libertarian or just plain ornery you are, I don't see a way to pin this one on Obama or to try to pull a fast one with the "both sides do it so its not so bad" sidestep. If you agree that this kind of presidential power is inappropriate, you'll have to agree that getting away with it because the courts don't care is worse. So can we shut up about "liberal active courts" and recognize that this one at least has come down on the side of the police state and the Liberals had nothing to do with it?

So where's the anger? where's the admission that yes, we supported this administration and its policies and WE WERE WRONG!

(Cross posted from Human Voices)

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