Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 9, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN NEW YORK....This editorial in the New York Sun has already gotten a lot of attention, but you know what? It can't get too much. The Sun apparently thinks thinks that free speech should stop where anti-war sentiment begins:

Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly are doing the people of New York and the people of Iraq a great service by delaying and obstructing the anti-war protest planned for February 15. The longer they delay in granting the protesters a permit, the less time the organizers have to get their turnout organized, and the smaller the crowd is likely to be.

....The protesters probably do have a claim under the right to free speech. Never mind that its not the speech that the city is objecting to its the marching in the streets, blocking traffic, and requiring massive police protection.

So long as the protesters are invoking the Constitution, they might have a look at Article III. That says, Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

....To those concerned about civil liberties, wed [say] that the more successful the protesters are in making their case in New York, the less chance theyll have the precious constitutional freedom to protest here the next time around.

The demonstrators "probably" have a claim to free speech? Protesting the war is "treason"? And all wrapped up with a sneering reference to "precious constitutional freedom"?

This is roughly the kind of editorial I would have expected from a Hearst dishrag in the 1950s or Pravda circa 1980, not from a supposedly respectable American newspaper in 2003. I hope the Sun is equally happy with this kind of banana republic patriotism after the Patriot IV act is passed and the police commissioner decides they're the ones who need a little light harrassment you know, just to remind them of what's respectable in New York, and what's not.

Kevin Drum 9:52 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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