Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Whatever Shall We Do About Civil Liberties?

The latest Civil Liberties OUTRAGE!!!!™ is the Memorial Day Weekend Incident at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC, in which a number of activists, including Medea Benjamin and Adam Kokesh were violently assaulted and arrested (literally, "put down") by DC Park Police for -- get this -- "dancing."

There are many videos of the incident, but Adam's posted version seems to be getting the widest currency:

What utter Police State® crap. This is not America!!! Except it is. We know it is. And we don't know what to do about it.

Civil Liberties are being extinguished in this country right along with the Republic itself, and while there may be some alarm from time to time at what is happening, most people seem to understand that it has been worse, far worse, in the past.

The Liberationism that came to fruition beginning in the 1960's was an anomaly. In fact, the history of the nation is one of constant oppression and repression -- when it hasn't involved genocide and conquest. Civil Liberties have historically been more theoretical than real, at least for vast swaths of the People, and even if we don't know the History, I think Americans know in their DNA that in many ways there is more Liberty now for more Americans than there has been at pretty much any time in the past.

It sure doesn't seem like it, though, when we witness scenes like the one in the video above. That kind of official violence against non-resisting or mildly-resisting citizens is far more common than we'd like to believe. Certainly the people involved, Medea Benjamin and Adam Kokesh among others, are well aware of just how routinely violent American Authorities can be and often are.

What is their Problem, for cripes-sake? Authority seems to be terrified that unless they treat the public with such contempt and violence they won't be in control and and won't be "respected". Certainly this kind of violence toward citizens (and much worse than this) is more and more routine, enabled, even encouraged by officials terrified that some how their safety and security will be compromised if the Police aren't brutal enough often enough.

Certainly any American of not-so-white a hue can testify that this sort of police behavior has been employed relentlessly against People of Color since before the Founding of the Republic and it is still going on, day in and day out, in many marginal -- and some not so marginal -- communities.

Nevertheless, to see this kind of Police State® behavior at the Memorial to the author of the Declaration of Independence, over something as trivial as flash-mob dancing, is shocking and more than a little absurd.

The natural response of any sentient being is "WTF!?"

Yeah, well. Note, however, the sheep-like response of the civilians in the Memorial when this aktion went down, not intervening, not even saying "Stop!" but simply watching the show -- and some recording it -- as if it were some kind of performance art or entertainment. And when they are told to leave, they do.

With nary a word. Not even a "Baaaaah." (At least in the airport security lines, I've occasionally heard the patrons delicately "Moo" as they are herded along.)

What do you do under the circumstances? Of course, what Adam and Medea and others are trying to do with "installations" like this is to raise the consciousness of a somnolent Public to the real brutality and threats to the simplest Civil Liberties the People are under from a Government and its Stormtroopers who are out of control.

But I look at this incident and know that the People have seen these sorts of aktions by the Polizei over and over again and their response is either a blank stare or even approval of the police action against unlawful citizen activity.

One wonders if there is any "consciousness" to raise among such dullards, but one shouldn't fall into the trap of blaming the victims for their own plight. It is too easy to say they are too stupid to live and write them and their fate off to their own fault.

What Medea and Adam are doing is actually what has to be done, persistently and relentlessly, to trigger those consciences that can be -- and will be -- triggered when the out of control Authority is confronted again and again with scenes of such simplicity and absence of threat.

It's a simple statement -- over and over again -- that this kind of Authoritarian bullshit is WRONG. You can't just say it, you have to show it. Over and over and over again.

And the message clicks.

Apparently this incident was triggered by a judge declaring that "dancing" at the Jefferson Memorial (or "public facilities") in DC was illegal. So, Civil Liberties Activists decided to challenge Authority on the matter and this is what happened. It wasn't exactly the Incident at the Edmund Pettis Pettus Bridge, but still.

The way to deal with these Civil Liberties breaches is to demonstrate the insanity of Authority, just as these people -- and so many others -- have done throughout our history.

Authority will be shamed and Authority will yield. Though it may seem to take forever. And ever. And ever.

UPDATE: The Jefferson Memorial Dance Party will continue next Saturday at Noon. All you DC denizens, be there!

BTW, where this is from is a ton of fun. Check it out sometime. Oh, those Yurpeens.

No comments:

Post a Comment