[saymaListserv] speaking truth to power in the post-9/11 world

Steve Livingston nc_stereoman at charter.net
Tue Jul 27 11:52:36 JEST 2004


Suppression of First Amendment rights to free speech have been significantly 
curtailed due to the assimilation of both public property and media by huge 
corporations, and the resulting limitations of opportunity for ordinary citizens to 
address one another in public forums. At the same time, popular media have 
evolved to serve the same kinds of corporate interests most responsible for 
corrupting our elected government - media unabashedly guided by the purpose of 
disseminating propaganda aimed at misleading our fellow citizens into supporting 
decisions that are not in the best interest of our nation nor the goals that fair-minded 
and compassionate people, including Quakers, share.

Indicative of the abysmal state of citizens' right to petition their government for 
redress of grievances were the tactics used by municipal police departments in the 
name of "protecting the protesters" during the run-up to the Iraq invasion, ranging 
from refusal to allow peaceable assembly in public places to corraling protesters in 
narrow streets and attacking them with tear gas and horses.

A new low is now being reached, exemplified by the so-called "Free Speech Zone" 
near the Democratic national Convention in Boston. For those who have not seen 
nor heard of this travesty, I strongly encourage you to know what is happening in 
your country today! I further encourage you to consider the warning of Pastor 
Niemoller in the context of our contemporary circumstances, and lose no time in 
speaking truth to power, no matter the risk: First they came for the Communists... 
then they came for the terrorists... then they came for the Palestinian 
sympathizers... then for the Liberals...

I offer for your consideration a letter posted to my local newspaper today:


Your coverage of the Democratic National Convention offered a peek at the 
status of our First Amendment rights in the post-9/11 environment: “armed 
officers standing guard along a seven-foot-tall metal security fence that ringed 
the convention complex” . . . “Protests were scattered . . . ”

Around the corner is the Court-approved “Free Speech Zone”, a construction 
site ringed with chain link and razor wire, heavy netting overhead, naked 
girders at forehead level.  Many have chosen to surrender their rights rather 
than using this detention area, whose human capacity is a mere 1,000.  Boston 
Police disparaged the First Amendment with this disingenuous statement:  
“Our space downtown is really not ideal.  There was almost nowhere for a 
free-speech zone.”

Condoleeza Rice testified before the 9/11 Commission that an August 2001 
Presidential briefing “did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the 
United States.” The briefing was titled “bin Laden Determined to Attack 
Inside the United States.”  The National Security Advisor’s felonious duplicity 
epitomizes the current Administration’s utter disregard for the well-being of 
American citizens, which has resulted in thousands of deaths, destruction of 
other countries and of our international reputation, and now the loss of our 
First Amendment rights.

Steve Livingston
Steve Livingston
nc_stereoman at charter.net
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