Now that it is the Fifth of July, and everybody is back to normal from their holiday high,
we can take a prudent look at what you just celebrated and how it exists in reality.
The Fourth of July celebrates two things:
1. The declared independence of the colonies from the tyranny and oppression of the King of England
2. The appreciation of the freedoms Americans experience under the Bill of Rights portion of the Constitution
Yet, two of those rights, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly have been modified beyond their original intent. They are no longer pure and guaranteed with the current administration having infringed upon them beyond any recognition.
FREE SPEECH ZONES. You won't find anything about them in the Bill of Rights. They appeared from time to time in the era which introduced designer blue jeans and have increased in usage since then, having reached a new height during the George W. Bush administration. A Free Speech Zone is an area set aside for those with dissenting opinions who wish to protest a speech or event of which they don't agree. Free Speech Zones have been set up as far as a mile away and sometimes are cages blocked off with fences, concrete or other temporary walls and borders. They are designed to be out of view and audio range of others including the media (who have in many cases been ordered not to go near the zone) and therefore nullify the intended protest.
They have been used by states, cities, towns and municipalities and abused by the Secret Service. Specific cases involve a man trying to hold up a sign at a George W. Bush parade which read "The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us," being told to go to the Free Speech Zone, refusing and being arrested. This is just one of many similar cases. The Secret Service has been known to tell local law enforcement to scan audiences looking for signs that oppose Bush policies and escort them to the Free Speech Zone.
Free Speech Zones have been used across the political spectrum with the recent arrest of a group of Christians daring to protest at a Gay Rights Festival in a "non-Free Speech Zone."
(sounds crazy--doesn't it?) This took place in St. Petersburg--not in Russia, where you might expect something like this, but in Florida.
Free Speech Zones are an egregious infringement of your rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly. What will you do to take action between now and the next Fourth of July?