Tuesday, December 16, 2003

It Can't Happen Here

I don't care if you're conservative, liberal, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Green, all Americans need to take a long hard look at the Bush adminsitration and it's handling of political protests. There have been many reports of anti-war demonstrators being targeted by the Bush administration. Now there's This article from Salon about the police response to protests at the Miami Free Trade of the Americas summit. Senior citizens were sprayed with tear gas. People attempting to leave the area were shot at close range with rubber bullets. Journalists who declined to be "embedded" (and it's not a coincidence that this phrase sounds so much like "in bed with") in the police force were arrested and harrassed.

This is not an aberration; it's America as Bush and co. would have it be. This is the Homeland Security endorsed strategy to deal with anyone who doesn't toe the party line. Their definition of a terrorist is anyone who doesn't agree with them. Their definition of an anarchist is anyone who rocks the boat and dares to oppose them.

This is important. Dissent is a vital part of democracy. Peaceful protesters are not the enemy. Attempts to discourage people from exercising their right to protest are unconscionable. Violence against peaceful protesters is un-American.

That said, protesters - do us all a favor and don't encourage this shit from the authorities. Engage in peaceful protest. Avoid violence and vandalism. Behave yourselves and don't use a rally or protest as a place to air your authority issues. And I've found that it doesn't hurt to dress for the occasion. Like it or not, most Americans are more likely to take you seriously if you're dressed "normally" - leave your fetish gear at home.

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