Saturday, September 27, 2008

First Amendment? What First Amendment?

Noticing a pattern emerging on Obama's campaign trail. Every effort is being made to squelch dissent whereever it is found. A classic example of "freedom of speech for me, but not for thee" thinking (via Michelle Malkin).

This story comes from The Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg, Virginia:
Mr. Obama, the Democratic nominee for president, is scheduled to speak at a rally at the university today. The public is invited to this forum, on property it, the public, owns. However, signs and banners will not be allowed, according to the organizers and compliant campus officials.
The First Amendment guarantees the freedoms of religion, speech, the press, peaceable assembly, petition of the government. Will one who aspires to the title Defender of the Constitution begin inhibiting these First Freedoms even before he is in office--at a public university?
A fabulous question. The commenters to this story attempt to trivialize the issue by claiming it to be simply a question of good manners. Really. Signs prevent me from gazing with rapture at The One, so they should be banned. This comment from "thatguyb" is typical:
...if someone holds up a placard, banner or sign in front of me, they are violating my right to participate in this rally. If people respected others rights, this wouldn't be an issue, any banner would be held at best chest high. Unfortunately respect lately has gone out the window, and people don't seem to care, so I admire the campaign for prohibiting these view obstructing items. I want to be able to see and hear the forum, without distraction.
Do yourself a favor, dude. Stay away from party conventions. The point is, even the Secret Service doesn't care about signs, so long as you can't turn any part of it into a weapon.

Next we turn to Obama's "Goon Truth Squad" efforts. Gateway Pundit has this story, including video of a story from the news team at KMOV:
St. Louis and Missouri Democrat sheriffs and top prosecutors are planning to go after anyone who makes false statements against Obama during his campaign. This is so one sided I can't even begin to describe how wrong this agenda is.

It's one thing if they want to keep the campaign fair for both sides, but they clearly only want to enforce the issue for the Obama Camp.
True enough. Since the KMOV story includes interviews with the prosecutor involved, you may as well watch it to see for yourselves.

For all the howling about Bush's record on "civil rights violations" with regards to our handling of enemy combatants at Gitmo, you'd think Obama's campaign would be particularly sensitive to this issue of squelching freedom of speech at his rallies. It's one thing to have dedicated teams for debunking statements made by opponents to your campaign; it's another one altogether to try to prevent your opponents from saying anything in the first place. That is a violation of the First Amendment, and Obama needs to be called on it. If someone uses their right to free speech to incite violence or threaten the life of another, hey, I'm all for throwing their sorry fannies in jail for awhile. But you can't arrest them until they actually make such a speech or you can prove that they intended to. Just about everything else, including mocking your opponent's disabilities are all covered under that wonderful First Amendment.

Want to see how tolerant liberals really are of conservative values or candidates? Are you sure? It's pretty ugly. (Extreme content warning: you will see more fingers in this one video than you've ever seen from truck drivers or since high school.) It's a video of a group of McCain supporters marching through downtown Manhattan on September 21, 2008. Watch at your own risk. (Hat tip: American Digest)

Completely offensive to me, but the First Amendment guarantees their absolute right to express themselves in this way. I will not, on the other hand, ever visit Manhattan. I'd be too tempted to wear my McCain-Palin campaign button, and I might get hurt.

Of course, fair is only fair. So if Obama has Truth Squads dedicated to correcting Republican messages about The One, surely he must have an entire sub-team whose job is to follow Joe Biden around and correct his own innumerable slips of the lip.

The One must have balance, after all.

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