Caging the Dream: Dems Wrap Freedom in Razor Wire

Here's an historic speech by a noted African-American leader on August 28, 1963:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

....This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

And here's what we will see in Colorado when another noted African-American leader delivers an historic speech there on August 28, 2008:

Individuals arrested at the Democratic National Convention will be processed at an industrial warehouse with chain-link cells topped by razor wire, a facility some have compared to the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Groups planning marches, concerts and other events during the Aug. 25-28 convention dub the center "Gitmo on the Platte," for the nearby South Platte River...Video footage of the north Denver warehouse on Denver's KCNC-TV showed coils of razor wire topping chain-link cells. A sign read: "Electric stun devices used here."

[Sheriff's spokesman Capt. Frank] Gale said each cell will be about 20-by-20 feet. He refused to say how many people could be processed there.

"It's just ridiculous, the thing looks like a dog pound," said Mark Cohen of the protest group Recreate-68 Alliance. "Even if you only put dogs in there, people will be complaining about it. I think you ought to have the Red Cross and Amnesty International come take a look at this thing."

And there's more:

And you thought it was just Republicans that wanted to stifle free speech.

"The infamous "free speech zone," set to make a comeback at Denver's upcoming Democratic National Convention, needs to be within earshot of delegates, a coalition of civil liberties advocates backed by the ACLU said [last month]. Chain link fencing or chicken wire at the end of the parade route, about 700 feet away from the Pepsi Center under the current plan, would separate demonstrators and protesters from other convention attendees, the Rocky Mountain News reported.

"No human voice, or any other sound," ACLU counsel said in Monday's amended complaint, "can ever hope to reach a person at the entrance."

The ACLU and other groups filed suit against the plan to protect the delicate shell-like ears of top Democrats from any unseemly criticism or unkind remarks. But they lost the case:

Protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Denver can be restricted to fenced-in areas, federal judge ruled on Wednesday, saying that security needs outweighed curbs on their rights...

U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger agreed that the protesters would suffer some infringement on their freedom of expression but said those interests had to be balanced with security concerns.

"The restrictions inhibit the plaintiffs' ability to engage in some forms of expressive conduct, (but) ... the plaintiffs have a wide variety of alternative means of expression that will allow them to effectively communicate their messages," Krieger wrote in her 71-page ruling.

Why yes -- they can always send Barack a text message! Or maybe they can form a Facebook group. Or even write a blog post! All Americans are perfectly free to express their opinions in any venue whatsoever -- as long it is a venue which the high and mighty can ignore at their own discretion. Let their freedom ring, yes -- but let everybody else shut up. Let each and every one of us outside the golden circle of power lower our heads, muffle our voices, and keep well away when our betters are passing by. We must not disturb their party, we must not trouble their repose, we must not speak to them of what they have done, of what they countenanced, and of what they have most miserably failed to do.

Martin Luther King Jr. walked down the middle of hostile streets, through crowds spewing hatred at him, howling for his blood; he faced down police bayonets and the power of the state. Now our modern-day heroes can't bear to allow a few critical words within 700 feet of their pampered selves.

What a falling-off is there! Looks like we'll have to keep on dreaming that dream, Brother Martin; the chimes of freedom are sounding more distant than ever.

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