Tuesday, September 09, 2008

More thoughts on the police state.

I linked below to Little Light's post, and I want you to please read it first, before I weigh in on this.

BFP wrote about this as well, and her post is also far better than mine. The two of them are an inspiration in so many ways, and I think more people should be reading them.

Police brutality is a feminist issue. I've written about it, oh, a million times. In addition, it is a progressive issue, a liberal issue, an issue for anyone who cares about civil rights and civil liberties.

Our freedoms are NOT granted to us by the state. They are agreed upon with the state, and part of the contract we've made with the state is that it will protect us and provide certain things for us.

I posted the First Amendment the other day in regards to Amy Goodman and other journalists' arrests. It, in addition to the right of a free press, provides that people shall be allowed to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This State has failed us. Instead of protecting us, it has gotten us into unwarranted wars that have weakened us and diminished our ability to protect ourselves (and that's even allowing that war may sometimes be necessary, an argument I am not going to have here). Instead of providing for us, it has attempted to control our personal lives and allowed profit to take precedence over silly little things like health and shelter.

Protests at the RNC especially, but at the DNC as well, have every fucking right to go on. There is no need for a "free speech zone" or anything of the kind. As long as the protesters aren't attacking people in the streets, they have a right to be there and be heard. They certainly don't deserve being arrested, let alone being brutalized beforehand (and afterward, while in jail).

This is not getting the press it deserves. Which is ironic, considering that the press should be freaking out at its rights being trampled, the way they freaked out at the idea that Judith Miller might have to give up her high and powerful source.

Freedom of speech, in other words, is no longer the concern of the ones who are supposed to fight for it: the media. They are more concerned with access to power. It is up to us to preserve the rights that we handed over control of to some state authority. The police are here to serve, not to coerce and control.