The evolving face of dissent

protest and dissentI’m going to give you the hook for this post right off the bat:

Under Bush: A message on a t-shirt would get you arrested.

Under Obama: Guns at presidential appearances are okay.

Yes, this is the same Obama who we’re told – under the auspices of the politics of fear – wants to take our guns.

Bush wouldn’t even allow a message on a t-shirt. Obama allows guns.

For those who hated dissent under Bush, these days dissent is suddenly the new cool. It’s off the hook, yo.

First came the Bush/t-shirt arrests:

  1. Life in Bush’s America: Wear an anti-Bush T-shirt, get arrested, lose your job. Message on t-shirt? “Love America, Hate Bush.”
  2. Activist Sheehan arrested in House gallery. Message on t-shirt? “2,245 Dead. How many more?”

Wearing a message on a t-shirt is a non-violent form of protest. As such it is guaranteed protection under the first amendment.

By the way, the people arrested in bullet point #1 above went on to sue and, with the help of the ACLU, won a settlement from the government in the amount of $80,000.

For almost eight years under Bush, dissent was criticized. There was the invention of “free speech zones” and those expressing dissent were personally attacked, often called “traitors” and said to be committing acts of “treason.”

Oh how times change! Dissent is suddenly embraced by the very same folks who used to hate it and considered it to be anti-American. And now how do these folks choose to express themselves?

  • Tea parties organized by Americans For Prosperity (AFP). (Incidents of hangings in effigy have been reported at some of these events.)
  • Embracing the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me” on bumper stickers, flags, and t-shirts.
  • Wearing t-shirts that read “Revive The Revolution” (yet another AFP thing).
  • Repeating as often as possible the phrase: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” (Thomas Jefferson quotation.)
  • Organizing political movements and talking about seceding from the Union. (See Texas.)

See what I’m getting at yet? It’s the clever and no-so-subtle talk about implied violence. The hints about bloodsheed and civil war and revolution. Oh, they aren’t dumb enough to actually say, “Let’s go do some violence. Let’s overthrow the government.” But they are more than willing to hint around about it.

That’s one thing I don’t get about freedom. You have the right to your opinion and I have the right to mine. But for some people, the flag-waving phonies, their version of freedom includes threats of violence against those who have a different opinion. I don’t think they quite understand what the word freedom really means. They’ll steal the yard signs of their political opponents. (Another blow for freedom!) They’ll personally attack someone just because of their opinion. They’ll kill pets and leave them on the front porch. They’ll talk about “revolution” and spilling blood a lot. They’ll make death threats against those they politically oppose. And worse, they’ll hold themselves up as the finest examples of American patriotism.

These are scary (and sometimes hypocritical) times in this fine nation of ours.

One response

  1. […] questioning the president was “treason,” all of the sudden those same people feel that dissent is the new […]


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