Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Signs of Trouble

“People only have real power when they make trouble,” Frances Fox Piven

Yesterday, it was announced that the Coldwater (Mich.) City Council passed a resolution banning all banners and signs at Four Corners Park after a federal lawsuit charged that the Common Sense Patriots of Branch County were “too political” and “too controversial”.

Excuse me?  EXCUSE ME?!  Did I read that correctly?  A federal court has passed law over what constitutes free speech?  A city council can now determine who has first amendment rights and who doesn’t?  However, they knew they had no right to ban one particular group, so now they’ve banned all signs and banners for all events.

According to Attorney Robert Muise of the Thomas More Law Center, Coldwater City Manager
Jeff Budd objected because the Common Sense Patriots of Branch County were “too political” and “too controversial.”  According to the lawsuit, the Common Sense Patriots had held five rallies at the Four Corners Park.  Muise said to regulate speech at a traditional public forum such as a city park, regulations must be precise. He said the ban of all signs and banners is too broad.

“Instead of using a scalpel, they used a sledgehammer,” Muise said. “They didn’t mind when they had people put up banners for some innocuous event, but when the tea party put up their sign, they said, ‘Wait a minute. This is too controversial.’ ”

“There is a problem when you ban everything in a traditional public forum.”
Right.  Let’s not ban everything; let’s just ban the speech we don’t agree with, the speech that makes us nervous, the signs that make us realize all is not well in our rose bowl world, the banners that remind us what cowards we really are.

For an attorney, Mr. Muise is pretty weak on the Constitution and the First Amendment in particular. 

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Originally, the First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress. However, starting with Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925), the Supreme Court has held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies the First Amendment to each state, including any local government.

The Libs just hate those signs.  They know that people carrying signs turns them into a herd of sheeple into active members of an organization who are there to communicate a message, not just listen to someone speak.  They’ve been working overtime to discredit anyone who carries a home-made sign as a homophobic, anti-government racist. 

Their tactics have been working, too.  People don’t come to rallies carrying so many signs anymore.  Having been mocked and chastised by the Liberal Media, and in turn by television addicted family, friends, and teenagers, and not wanting to seem “uncool,” they’ve been leaving their signs at home.

Early on, infiltrators tried to persuade one Tea Party not to carry signs and the other not to have any rallies at all, but to remain behind closed doors.  The infiltrators and I had in the first instance had some interesting shouting matches.  The other party I just couldn’t convince to do outdoor rallies at all.  They didn’t have enough volunteers for such a venture, I think, and their main organizing powerhouse recently passed away.

As the rally season blossoms once again – this is our third year; can you believe it? – I would urge all Tea Parties all across the country to get their signs ready and carry them with pride.  Let the Tea Party signs blossom and wave like a sea from shore to shore.  The Libs certainly don’t like it, which is all the more reason to carry signs.  City councils have no right to tell people they can’t communicate a political message or tell people that they can’t carry signs.  That’s what the First Amendment is all about - American citizens being able to assemble peacefully in the public forum and declare their views.

The fact that city and town councils can make stipulations about free speech in a public park is a bad sign of just how far bureaucratic overreach has gone in abridging our rights as citizens.  Big government has come to small towns and we should protest it.  The citizens of Coldwater should vote out their city council as soon as may be and elect officials who believe in the Constitution.



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