Thursday, February 10, 2005

Free Speech v. The Neighbors

This news article appeared on KCRA in Sacramento:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Nestled in a quiet Sacramento neighborhood is a very loud political statement that is testing the very foundation of the right to free speech.

Hanging from a house in Land Park, a soldier's uniform in a noose dangles from a rooftop. The words "your tax dollars at work" are scrolled across the chest.

In a community full of patriotism, this view of the war in Iraq has not gone unnoticed.

"Unfortunately or fortunately this is protected speech by the First Amendment ... so there is nothing we can do about it," Sacramento City Councilman Rob Fong said.

KCRA 3 received a call late Wednesday morning from the homeowner saying that a group of people had torn down the display. He said that what he did was not illegal, but what was done by the people who removed the display was.

While you are reading the article, you can vote on how you feel about the protest. Do it so you can see the results. Make up your own mind how they make you feel.

It's still your right to make an act of free speech in protest, even if it's offensive to others. It's also the choice of those offended whether or not to break the law to deal with it. I think whoever trespassed and stole the display felt that law enforcement would be on their side and not pursue this very diligently, and they are probably right.

I happen to think that our troops are being used like a condom during Fleet Week. If it were up to me, they wouldn't be in that fucking sand pit to begin with. I wouldn't have used the same symbolism these folks did, even though I tend to agree with it, because it's not going to have the intended effect of turning people against this stupid Imperial War. It'll just turn the sheeple against them. It was their choice, and choices have consequences, sometimes unintended.

There's also the matter of perception. For instance, if someone displayed a Swastika with an eye toward protesting encroaching fascism, that would be one perception. I wouldn't like the display very much, but once it was explained to me, I would leave it be.

If they displayed it in agreement with Nazi ideals, that would be another perception, but once it was explained to me, I wouldn't tear it down. It would burn along with the house.