Amendment Zones" began the day Putsch seized office.
When the motorcade traveled to the Congress for
the swearing in ceremony, protesters - by the
thousands - were identified and relegated to the
zones a few streets away. Government agents ordered
the media to not show any protesters that did
slip through the cordon sanitaire.
Amendment Zones," the Orwellian name for the place
where free protest is incarcerated, have been
a trademark of this administration, and this brittle,
cowardly, sanctimonious president. I first mentioned
them in an essay in 2001, identifying them as
actually being "second amendment zones," set up
because they were so worried Putsch might get
shot by his adoring fans.
we didn't have Second Amendment Zones in 1964,
or in any of the years subsequent to that and
before 2001, despite the fact that we had plenty
of violent loons with guns who felt that shooting
a president could solve their personal problems.
Didn't need them until 2001 - nine months before
of the problem was Putsch himself. He is brittle,
and doesn't respond well to displays of opposition,
and there are a wealth of stories - some surely
apocryphal, but some not - of him reacting to
such, usually with vulgarities and tantrums. Two
guys with T-shirts stating opposition to him got
flipped a presidential bird. In another case,
a guy permitted to join the adoring throngs lining
the route of the fearless leader took off his
over-shirts to reveal T-shirts with anti-Bush
slogans. One of them was arrested, but the charges
were dropped, not because they were idiotic charges,
but because the cop, apparently dumber than a
turd, was out of his jurisdiction when he made
in the land of the free and the home of the brave,
protest against fearless leader is permitted only
where fearless leader is not likely to see it.
Americans used to laugh at countries that engaged
in such shenanigans. It was seen as proof that
dictators were often weak and foolish people.
Americans were right to think so.
with the convention coming up, it comes as no
surprise that the local police are busy setting
up a "First Amendment Zone," out of sight of dignitaries
and cameras, so they can show that America is
the land of the free and the home of the brave
without the embarrassment and inconvenience of
being actually free and brave.
befits second-class citizens who are standing
to embarrass elected officials, the First Amendment
Zone is a first class dump, an urban wasteland,
a bleak expanse of shattered concrete and broken
glass, bereft of shade or running water.
the bleak urban moonscape, the razor wire, and
the sight of thousands of people standing silently
behind the wire, authorities probably saw a disconcerting
similarity to images of prisoners behind the fences
at Nazi concentration camps, and moved to address
the situation. They ruled that only a maximum
of 1,000 inmates - that is, demonstrators - would
be permitted in the "First Amendment Zone" instead
of 4,000. That way, it wouldn't look quite so
much like Auschwitz.
course, the rationale being given is that they
want to "prevent terrorism" - in the apparent
belief that terrorists would have a strategy of
flocking to the most heavily guarded and protected
site outside of Washington, DC.
just happened to watch the 1962 movie classic,
"The Manchurian Candidate," tonight, and so it's
pretty hard not to be sensitive to the need for
security at a major political convention.
also hard not to remember the 1968 Chicago convention,
where protesters were noisy and uncooperative
with police, and the Chicago police overreacted
in this case, large numbers of protesters aren't
expected, and most of those are people who plan
to vote for the nominee anyway, but just want
to get their particular points of interest shown
on TV and exposed to the Democratic delegates.
right. I said Democratic delegates. This vile
little "First Amendment Zone" is in Boston, a
block from the Democratic National Convention.
about that. Who is going to show up to protest?
Small groups from special interests such as PETA
or ACTUP. Perhaps some Naderites. A sprinkling
of right wing whack jobs from outfits such as
Free Republic and Moving America Forward.
a couple of thousand people all told, and definitely
not a group likely to riot and shut down the whole
Republicans will have First Amendment Zones. They
know a lot of people hate them, and those people
aren't terrorists. They have two objectives: keep
protesters from the convention, and hide from
the general public the fact that the protesters
are ordinary Americans, with nary a terrorist
nor a commie among them.
of course, to protect Putsch's delusion that he
is well-liked or capable as President.
excuses for things like "First Amendment Zones"
in the land of the free and the home of the brave,
but at least excuses. Democrats don't even have
that. They don't have good reason to fear loyal
Americans expressing other points of view like
Republicans have. They don't have a brittle and
weak figurehead who can't be expected to control
himself when face to face with dissenters like
the Republicans have. They aren't populated by
cowardly goosesteppers who know they are trying
to thwart the will of the people the way Republicans
should abandon the notion of a "First Amendment
Zone," and settle for just making sure that the
convention building, and the main access routes,
support the cowardly and Republican "First Amendment
Zones" is to say to the world that they are just
as cowardly, brittle, and weak as Republicans.
Posted: July 26, 2004