Charlie Patrick’s letter to the editor, 11/21/2011

A Mr. Charlie Patrick had this letter to the editor in today’s Times Call entitled “Stand Up and Speak, While You Can”.  A few points he makes deserve a response…after all, that is what we do here. 🙂

Mr. Patrick states “The First Amendment rights of the people are being destroyed using the Supreme Court and Citizens United, receiving a helping hand from Wall Street and local governments. Amazing: We are witnessing the decimation of the First Amendment, our freedom of speech reduced to controlled speech by a Fascist government. ”  He is talking about the OWS movement here, and the dismantling of some of  the camps and removal by force of some of the protestors.  Anyone who believes the government is simply trying to eradicate our first amendment rights to free speech has not been paying attention.  City governments have generally been bending over backwards to allow the protestors to have their say.  The reason they are being removed (again, in general) is because of the criminal activity and damage they (in general) have caused to the sites they’ve chosen to occupy.  If you, as a protestor, feel the need to block a street or impede a business from actually doing business, then don’t act surprised when the cops ask you to leave.  And when you refuse to move, after being repeated told to disperse, don’t be surprised when the cops use force to remove you.  And when the cops forcibly remove you, don’t think it is b/c they are trying to suppress your freedom of speech….it is because you are disobeying the law.   There have been some notable exceptions of course, but the vast majority of cases are exactly for the reasons I’ve just described.  So rest easy everyone…the government is not taking away your right to say what’s on your mind, as long as you’re doing it in a law abiding way that does not infringe on the rights of others.  So speak up!

Mr. Patrick continues:  “As the police are moving more on the crowds, you need to compare this to all of the recent political crowds in America and how they have been handled. Tea party rallies gathered in large numbers and called for using Second Amendment remedies if they did not get their way. Folks wore weapons. Funny, they seemed to echo the right-wing Wall Street language, and no police tried to break up their gatherings or disarm the crowd for the safety of the public, or for “sanitary reasons.” Was this because it was right-wing propaganda, or was it because they were armed?”   As with many protests, some big mouths said some things that were best left unsaid.  Certainly no one condones shooting up the place if they can’t say their piece, and no incidents took place as Mr. Patrick seems to think were threatened.  As to why they weren’t removed…I dunno, maybe they weren’t raping women in tents?  Maybe they weren’t taking dumps on police cars?  Maybe they thought the constitution needed to actually be followed more closely, so they stopped pacing the streets chanting with wooden signs and actually voted (quite effectively) into office those who could actually move the country in the direction they thought it should be going?   This just goes back to the the government NOT trying to remove your freedom of speech.  The OWS’ers did not exercise it in an acceptable way.  The TP’ers did.  Both groups were allowed to speak, though, until other problems were caused by the former group.  Again, your freedom of speech remains safe.

Finally:  “And let us not forget the pro-life, anti-abortion rallies. You know, the folks who block traffic and public access going into clinics, and go to the doctors’ and nurses’ homes and try to intimidate them. Even though there is the occasional shooting of a doctor and bombing of a clinic, there’s no need for the police to worry about the public. This also demonstrates a denial of the First Amendment, as it demonstrates a freedom for those specifically tied to a religious group against those who would disagree with them, not to mention the denial of the Fourteenth Amendment for some.”   I’ve read this paragraph numerous times and still cannot figure out exactly what Mr. Patrick is saying, but I’ll try to respond anyway.  First, anyone who tries to prevent a legal business from operating by criminally vandalizing the location or intimidating the employees there should be thrown in jail, period.  This tends to be the ultra conservative crowd who participates in such things, and there is nothing else to say about it other than…they are in the wrong.   I think we agree on that.  As for “denial of the first amendment, as it demonstrates a freedom for those specifically tied to a religious group against those who would disagree with them”…ummmmm, no, if I’m understanding his point.  The government is not establishing a religion here, and a group (even one “specifically tied to a region”) can disagree with others all it wants.

So rest easy Mr. Patrick, the first amendment will still be around for years to come, as will the Bill of Rights.  What you’re seeing is the government’s response to groups that are infringing on the rights of others through their gatherings, not the government’s attempt to stop all speech it disagrees with.  Protest responsibly. 🙂

 

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One Response to Charlie Patrick’s letter to the editor, 11/21/2011

  1. Dick Piland had a great resonse to Charlie Patrick’s letter in today’s Times Call: http://www.timescall.com/opinion/letterstotheeditor/ci_19386301

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