Our friends over at Colorado Independent have a great new analysis up on free speech zones graveyards at the upcoming DNC. As Constitutional attorney John Whitehead explains, the Dems will be the only party this summer building a fence around open expression.
Protesters at the upcoming Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Denver in late August will be corralled into caged “free speech zones” made of chicken wire and chain link fences which are located more than two football fields from the delegates’ entrance. Those who attempt to exercise their First Amendment rights outside this makeshift cage, which is partially obscured by trees and sculptures, will be arrested. (Ironically, protesters at this year’s Republican National Convention will not face a cage or even policemen in riot gear.)
Pardonnez-moi le Francais, but this is a fucking embarrassment of the first order. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you’re only free to speak in certain areas, far removed from any chance of actually being heard, then what you have is not free speech. “Free speech” under these conditions is tortured into the sort of Rovian Newspeak we’ve had to endure these past few years, an open lie so bald-faced it would have shamed Richard Nixon.
Stalin had “free speech zones,” too, only he called them “prisons.”
S&R has been credentialed to cover the DNC and we’ll be bringing a fair-sized team to the show. Some of us will be inside watching the official events unfold, but rest assured, others will be hunting for free speech, no matter what part of Denver officials try to hide it in. (And since a lot of us live here, we know our way around.) We don’t expect to agree with everything being said – heck, we may not agree with a word of it – but I think a lot of us here feel an obligation to certain Constitutional principles that both parties seem to have abandoned. And if we’ve hated how the GOP has redefined “freedom,” you can bet your sweet ass we’re even less enamored of Vichy Democrats bent on out-GOPping the Busheviks.
So fine, DNC – try and hide free speech as best you can. But we’re going to go find it and bring it back for all to hear.
Meanwhile, a question for the man who ought to be out front in making sure that free speech graveyards are a thing of the past: Sen. Obama, why aren’t you defending the right to free speech in America?