So Much For The Right To Dissent

As I write this, I still can’t get over the feeling that this is out of an Orwell novel. A 16-year-old high school student in North Carolina (but of course) got more than he bargained for with his civics class project.  The homework assignment required students “to take photographs to illustrate their rights in the Bill of Rights”.  The unnamed student, apparently deciding to express his right to dissent, “had taken a photo of George Bush out of a magazine and tacked the picture to a wall with a red thumb tack through his head. Then he made a thumb’s-down sign with his own hand next to the President’s picture, and he had a photo taken of that, and he pasted it on a poster.”  Sounds within reason, no?  Well, it wasn’t for some asswipe at the Kitty Hawk Wal-Mart.  An employee in the photo department, where the student had sent his film for processing, contacted the Secret Service, who paid a visit the kid’s school, took his poster out of the civics and eonomics classroom, and questioned the teacher.  You just can’t make up this kind of fascism.

“Halfway through my afternoon class, the assistant principal got me out of class and took me to the office conference room,” she says. “Two men from the Secret Service were there. They asked me what I knew about the student. I told them he was a great kid, that he was in the homecoming court, and that he’d never been in any trouble.”

Then they got down to his poster.

“They asked me, didn’t I think that it was suspicious,” she recalls. “I said no, it was a Bill of Rights project!”

What really gets me isn’t that the idjit over at Wal-mart (who probably did this on purpose because the asswipe is a fervant supporter of The Lord Jesus Jebus King George President Bush) found it threatening, but that the Secret Service did.  Surely they’ve been adeqautely trained to recognize the difference between a true threat and a kid who merely takes a picture expressing his disapproval of Bush.  Is not liking the current adminstration suddenly a threat?  With a 39% approval rating, I wouldn’t be surprised.

16 thoughts on “So Much For The Right To Dissent

  1. Move to canada. Up here, making fun of our government is a pre-requisite (anyone living close enough to the border to pick up canadian TV signals should watch a show called “Royal Canadian Air Farce”. you’ll see my point right there).

  2. I watch RCAF every now and then. One of the benefits of living in South Eastern Michigan is we pick up CBC Channel 9 out of Ontario.

  3. I would watch it, but our local cable monopoly does something funny with over the air channels and we get nothing but fuzz. I live exactly 2 hours from the Canadian border. Hell, we have problems even getting over the air channels from LOCAL stations.

  4. Last i checked, it’s still a felony to threaten the life of a president.  During Clinton’s first term i had a friend whose twin brother vaguely threatened the president verbally (at late night social of all things); Ding-dong, Secret Service calling for an interview.  Someone dropped a dime on the poor guy, and thus his family.

    Yup.
    It’s a matter of national security.

    Here’s the cool thing:
    We live in a representative-democracy!, despite what farious Seattle anti-Starbucks, anti-hygene conspiracy-theory website authors might have you believe.  So, put down the bong, turn off the tv, and Organize yourself/selves, Mobilise the Vote, and change what you don’t like about the Secret Service’s priorities.

    Or, just wallow in anger and negative-bonding threads amongst others of xeroxed ideology.  Some people kvetch, others do.

    rob@egoz.org

  5. Am i sure America is still a representative dem?  You betcha (where do you live?!?!?).  Here’s why i’m fairly positive we still live in a representative-democracy, via the following empirical knowledge:

    [1] Attending my local NewEngland townmeeting (now going over 250 hundred years strong) and watching various being voted down and through by the populace (all 18+ aged, well over 500 citizens at each meeting!, with plenty of young adults too.  We’re a very strong town democracy actually.)
    [2] Hearing my State Rep explain why he voted for/against various legislation at a local DNC meeting, again attended by a fairly good cross section from my local area
    [3] While watching c-span1 and c-span2 during my workday.  Why, i even saw the “Shame! Shame! Shame!” incident, which very much made my month.

    In case this semantic silliness, i’ll ref the following as a parry:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representative_democracy

    Has your local or state representative democracy been suspended?  If so, i’ll be happy to call the FBI for you myself (as, no doubt, your movements and electronic communications are being monitored, even as you read this, right?).

    rob@egoz.org

  6. Rob,

    I may have read the article incorectly but I don’t think he ever actually threatened the prez.

    Anyway, I think the more frightening aspect of government control, is how the media spits out everything they are told to. With all their talking points and crap being driven into your head 24/7, how can the American populous have their own thoughts on anything. I think William Colby may have made a statement about the CIA and the media back at some point, look it up for me if you would. In my opinion a good example of this is Kanye West’s little rant a couple weeks back. I am unsure if I agree or disagree with his statement and his method of making it, however I do find it disturbing that the TV station edited it out, almost like it never happened. So what if the guy bashed the president, I think he has that right…

    P.S. – Why do you post under two different handles? (.rob and rob)

  7. I’m watching “The Keith Olberman Countdown” news show even while writing this.  He just named the “Worst person in the world” as the clerk in the WalMart in Kitty Hawk, who called the Secret Service.  The Secret Service was runner up.

    Somebody is noticing

    SG.

  8. Oh my do I have to open my mouth to this one. 

    No one threatened the president.  They pinned his picture up and made a thumbs down next to his face.  No one ever said or implied anything seditious, he was simply expressing his disapproval of our current president.  That’s perfectly within his rights as a citizen of this nation. 

    Next, about the democracy crack.  The last two elections were total shams, and until someone can show me a decisive count of votes on paper ballots (not some push-button recount with absolutely no paper trail that is controlled by corporations like ES&S) then I’ll never believe it.  I’ve seen research document after document, news article after article where reporters and other independant investigators showed that votes were incorrectly counted (absentee ballots were especially nafarious) in the 2000 elections.  I also know all about the company in charge of compiling the convicted felon list in Florida, and no, I’ve got a lot more resources than Michael Moore on both of those aspects.  Until electronic voting is kicked out, we’ve lost our right to vote.  We’ve had the very thing that makes us soverign stolen while we were being distracted by bogus terror alerts and anthrax scares and wars and avian flu…  It’s gross, it’s wrong, and it’s ugly.  No, in days gone by, we could have rallied and voted and changed something.  But that’s not the world we live in today. 

    Yes, I’m a conspiracy theorist website author, but I assure you I’m not anti-hygene, and I only make fun of starbucks.  In fact, I intend to invest a good amount of money in starbucks, they just got a deal to open up 9000 new stores in the next few years in Asia.  So yeah, try to lump us all in one catagory, I dare you.  Dangerous thing to try to do.  It’s like saying all christians are anti-choice, bible-thumping, biggots.  All Republicans are radical scumbags with theocratic agendas and they all own guns.  This is simply not true.  We know that there are just as many nut athiests and just as many psycho democrats. 

    As for wallowing anger and negative-bonding posts, you have no idea what I do when I’m not on here.  smile  I’ve been very politically active, even as young as 15, which puts me at 7 years today, a lot more than most people my age.  (and yes, in my area there are political organizations for high school kids)  I’m going to tell you right now that just because I have a website to spread information that I think other people should be exposed to, whether they believe it or not, doesn’t make me a radical extremist, or a fundie, or a hippie, or a tree-hugger, it makes me a citizen of this country.  It means that by having that website I am doing exactly what I should be doing, questioning authority.  It’s our right…  our RESPONSIBILITY to hold our government accountable for its actions, that’s what keeps us soverign, keeps us from tyranny.  When the government no longer fears us dumb heards of sheep that need to be hearded by the elite, we are easily duped into believing whatever they tell us, and letting them strip of us everything we hold sacred all the while believing them when they say its for our own good.

    Wanna talk about terrorists?  Terrorists who seek to threaten our way of life?  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s our government who will rape us of our way of life, looooong before any outside force, and we’re going to let them do it if we aren’t careful.

    Thanks, I just had to get that out.
    Lady Phoenix

  9. Yes, a thumbtack through the head cannot reasonably be construed as life-threatening to Bush… (I guess the CIA, not the FBI, will have to take care of me for saying that)…

    Be that as it may, rob and .rob both seem to labor under the misapprehension that living in a “representative democracy” is an either-or proposition, whereas it’s obviously a matter of degree.  The New England town .rob lives in, and the jail I was in after a demonstration some years ago, where we had endless meetings about legal tactics, talent shows, etc., are probably pretty good examples of representative democracies.

    But, say, in Bush’s first term, where he was not elected, but appointed by scotus, which itself was also appointed, the “representative” part of the “democracy” became a wee bit sullied in the trickling down.  And if there was hankypanky in the electronic voting machines in the last election (we’ll probably never know for sure, and that is precisely the problem with them, as Lady Phoenix points out), the “representation” is further spread out, to include all kinds of “special interests” that decent folk might not want to grant suffrage, all things considered.

    Truth is, there is no absolute “representative democracy”; only more or less representation.  We should be thankful we have as much voice as we do in America (and Europe where I live), and vigilant about preventing the voices of greed and destruction from overshouting us.

  10. a thumbtack through the head cannot reasonably be construed as life-threatening to Bush…

    I should think not – a typical thumbtack is only a quarter-inch long and his cranium is surely thicker than that.  (Not to mention the couple inches of empty space before you reach any grey matter!)

    Sorry, bad joke.  Aaauugh!  It’s the Secret Service breaking down my d

  11. Late on this one, I know…

    Uh…zilch…the CIA could care less about that statement…they’ve got bigger problems(like a goverment who WONT listen them…). Now the FBI…

    I may not be a conspiracy theorist website authoress(yet), but as a writer, I’ve done my research. And although most of my family is British, I’m still an american citizen. And the last I checked, voice(or photographing) your opinion of the president, is not exactly threatening his life…

    Then again…Bush seems to take things a little TOO seriously, doesn’t he…I was pretty sure American wasn’t under dictatorship…until he came along…*shakes head*

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