Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Democracy in Chains

The Left End of The Dial nods to an Op-ed from Springfield, MO, where Bush rallied yesterday. Some of the crowd looked something like this:

EveryTown, USA Posted by Hello

The phrase "this is what democracy looks like" changed meaning as the protest of President Bush's appearance in Springfield unfolded. Initially, the phrase described the thousands of people lined up with tickets, waiting to enter the field house, being reminded not all people in southwest Missouri thought this president deserved four more years of leadership that had launched wars resulting in thousands dead and tens of thousands wounded, a national debt increasing at $1.69 billion a day, and an atmosphere of secrecy in America.

The Secret Service told protesters where to gather; the location was excellent. Democracy was working: People were exercising their right to assemble while others exercised their right to protest.

But when police told protesters they had to move about 200 feet away, while the people supporting Bush remained in place, the atmosphere grew tense. When protesters complained to local police, they replied, "We're just following orders." Then the protesters called the media: It was time for citizens to know how democracy was working in Springfield, as protesters had been herded into a "free speech zone."

When gatekeepers announced final seating for those with tickets, protesters with tickets tried to get in, but their tickets were grabbed and torn up, and police threatened them with arrest if they argued back. One woman screamed, "You're tearing up my ticket," and hit back at the man when he started shoving her with his chest, trying to shut her up. The police arrested the woman. Two other people were "taken down": a young girl who could not back up fast enough because there were so many people behind her and a man who is charged with trespassing because he was standing on property his own tax dollars partially funded.

All this, while the Bush supporters passed by, granted access to the president of us all because they would shout his praises at the appropriate moments.

When "this is what democracy looks like" arose from the protesters this time, it had an ominous tone. People were being taken down, and the picture was not pretty.

YT wonders when members of the Senate and/or Congress will come to blows. Dick Go-Fuck-Yourself Cheney has already set the stage and Bu$h is on the ropes. Anyone care to start a betting pool?


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