}

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The right to protest

There is nothing more fundamental to the freedom and liberty of people than the right to free speech, and to exercise that right through protest. Without that, there can be no freedom of any kind. The right to free speech and to protest is already under attack by Don’s fervent fans and Republicans generally. That must end.

One of the people that Don is considering for heading up Homeland Security is the crackpot Milwaukee County Sheriff. A loon on his best days, he’s called the people protesting Don’s election “goon anarchists” and he called for the National Guard to be used to put down protests. One supposes they don’t require sheriffs in that country to swear an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, because that man just used it as toilet paper.

That loony sheriff isn’t alone, of course, and Don himself got into the act, blasting out another of his now-famous and typically unhinged Tweets:


That VERY presidential behaviour must have embarrassed his advisors who seem to have regained control of his Twitter account to post a very different view much later on:


The first Tweet is the one that matters, and it’s the one his fervent fans have seized upon. Just this morning I saw one of Don’s supporters leave a comment on a friend’s Facebook post referring to “paid protesters”, a refrain the person picked up from Don and the constant repetition among rightwing media and commentators.

Commenters on rightwing media (and Facebook) have blamed the protests on Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party, and even President Obama (as the commenter I saw today did). That last one is utterly bizarre to mainstream people, but Don’s supporters irrationally blaming him for the protests shows the depth of hatred that some of Don’s fervent fans have for President Obama.

It’s become clear that the fans and supporters of Don—including, sadly, people who hold governmental positions—need to take a moment and actually read the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
It doesn’t matter what we think of the protests, it doesn’t matter whether we agree with them, and it doesn’t matter whether they “accomplish anything”. The ONLY thing that matters is that free people have the right to protest, end of discussion.

The hard, cold reality that Don’s fans deliberately ignore is that the VAST majority of protests have been peaceful—angry, sure, disrespectful of Don and the Republican Gang, absolutely, all of which is their right to do as free people. The protests have been peaceful, with rare exception. Advocating the use of force to shut down protests because some people did a few violent things is the very definition of being un-American; protesting is not un-American—it’s the very definition of what it means to be a free citizen.

So, it’s too bad that conservatives and Don’s supporters are getting all butt-hurt that people are protesting Don’s win. Too bad, so sad. There will be a lot more over the coming years and if they really do believe in freedom and liberty—as they always claim they do—they’ll accept that fact and stop pretending that the Centre and Left don’t have the same right to protest that they do. Their moaning and whingeing about people exercising their First Amendment rights doesn’t change the fact that all free people—including those we passionately disagree with—have the same rights.

The current protests will end. Eventually, there will be new protests when Don or the Republican Gang do something to make America worse. That’s the way it goes—and it’s STILL protected by the US Constitution, no matter how much the rightwing hates that fact.

I created the graphic above partly in response to the loony sheriff, but mainly because Don’s supporters need to remember that, for now, the US Constitution is still the supreme law of the land.

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