A waltz with tyranny

By Pat LaMarche,
Posted May 31, 2011, at 7:36 p.m.

Belated good wishes for a happy Memorial Day. I trust you took a moment to think of the men and women, who throughout the centuries, have fought and died for your freedom. Personally, I’m one of those who believe there was way more fighting and dying than necessary but that makes their sacrifice no less real. Monday a grateful nation paid tribute to them.

That’s why I find recent news stories out of our nation’s capital so upsetting. Perhaps you hadn’t heard, but there’s a movement throughout the country that involve flash mobs. I recommend going to Youtube and watching the flash mob perform Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus in a food court.  More than 33 million folks have watched it already so maybe you’ve already seen it.

Back in 2008 there was a flash dance planned for the rotunda of the Jefferson Memorial. You may not know this, but Thomas Jefferson was a fan of dancing. Jefferson, in fact commented, “Dancing is a healthy and elegant exercise, a specific against social awkwardness …” He went on to warn pregnant and nursing mothers not to do it but that was for health reasons not because it was a bad thing.

Anyway, it turns out that it’s illegal to protest in the Jefferson Memorial. Now you may find that oxymoronic considering Thomas Jefferson wasn’t just a fan of the First Amendment, he’s the author of it.  At any rate, one of these flash dancers, Brooke Oberwetter, was arrested and charged.  She filed a lawsuit and was told by a judge that her dancing was a form of protest and that she had no grievance. You can read all about it on the Internet. There are excerpts of her lawsuit as well.

Enter a guy named Adam Kokesh who does podcasts about stuff he thinks should be in the news. He often stages events to call attention to some of these things. He and some friends went to see President Jefferson’s visage and dance before it.  And bam! The cops let him have it. You can likewise watch the video of these folks being thrown to the ground, choked and stomped. A news reporter was even shoved out of the Jefferson rotunda while he was taping the events.

Now you could cook all the hot dogs you wanted on Memorial Day, you can set thousands of little U.S. flags at the cemetery and you can salute every veteran who walks by you, but if you don’t watch this video and contact your congressperson you may as well call yourself a traitor and drop any pretense of respecting the sacrifice our soldiers made for your liberty.

Yeah, it’s pretty pathetic that President Barack Obama voted to extend the Patriot Act. So that phony who promised “change” needs a phone call, too.

But if you really want to put your liberty where your mouth is, you could take a ride to Washington, D.C. this Saturday and join the protesters who’ll be there to perform civil disobedience from noon until 3 p.m. although I doubt it will last that long. I’m sure the authorities will be waiting for them at the Jefferson Memorial with twist tie handcuffs and paddy wagons.  But if you get arrested tell them Jefferson himself sent you in the name of liberty, “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.”

Don’t have time or money to travel? There’s something you can do to preserve your ever vanishing liberties a little closer to home. You can contact the Maine Legislature. There’s a bill that — at this moment — is in the “unfinished business section” of the House calendar. It’s LD 1376 and it wants to curtail voting rights in Maine. There isn’t enough cyber-ink for me to tell you how much I abhor ballot access laws. Succinctly put, you have the right to vote guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution — but individual states restrict this freedom and those restrictions should be unconstitutional.

In Maine right now you may register to vote on Election Day. In Maine — a state that consistently has the highest voter turnout — we say, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”  We’re waltzing with tyranny if we do.

Pat LaMarche of Yarmouth is the author of “Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States.” She may be reached at PatLaMarche@hotmail.com.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/05/31/opinion/a-waltz-with-tyranny/ printed on July 25, 2014