Monday, August 16, 2004

This Is How It Starts

FBI harrassment of anyone who dares dissent. "The message I took from it was that they were trying to intimidate us into not going to any protests and to let us know that, 'hey, we're watching you.' "

Intimidation of any group suspected of not supporting the current regime. "People who have voted by absentee ballot for years are refusing to allow campaign workers to come to their homes. And volunteers who have participated for years in assisting people, particularly the elderly or handicapped, are scared and don't want to risk a criminal investigation."

The criminalization of dissent. "Protesters often use the internet to recruit, raise funds and coordinate their activities prior to demonstrations."

Equating dissent with treason. "Your tactics only aid terrorists for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil."

The Deserter is launching a pre-emptive assault on the first amendment. It's only 45 words, but it is the bedrock upon which rests five freedoms necessary to the survival of our democracy: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances. If, as the New York Times reports this morning, the FBI is knocking on the doors of protesters, in the absence of any probable cause to suspect illegal activities, then we are all in grave danger.

Now is the time to speak out. It wasn't yet too late in 1932, but by 1933 a nation had descended into madness. The people of this country must speak with one voice on this matter, and demand that the criminals currently pulling the levers of power in our government keep their bloodstained hands off of our Constitution and its most precious amendment.


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