Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What About Freedom Of Speech & Assembly?

            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.” 

            -First Amendment US Constitution.

            Does this apply only to corporations?  It seems that if you’re an individual, it is illegal to assemble peaceably to voice your grievances.  Corporations however? Well, they get to state their cases and voice their opinions and grievances without fear of arrest.  That's right, they have more rights in this country than you or I.  The US Supreme Court actually ruled not too long ago that corporations have all the same rights as individuals and their money equals free speech. 

If you’re a corporation, you can have Congressmen listen to your grievances over dinner and then jet off to a luxury resort with them for a round of golf.  If you’re not a corporation, however, you don’t get to enjoy the same rights and privileges that corporations do.  No, you see the First Amendment apparently does not apply to the average person who has legitimate grievances; average people such as those in the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

Throughout the United States, we have seen one protest after another broken up by municipalities.  Quite frankly unless we, the 99% get together and buy a jet to fly them around in (besides the ones we’ve already paid for such as Air Force One or the gazillion aircraft in the DOD arsenal), then they aren’t going to listen to us.  Our rights as far as they are concerned are like the toilet paper they clean themselves with.

Thankfully, there are a few judges out there who have ruled in favor of free speech and the right to assemble.  Some examples are judges such as the one in Nashville who overturned the arrest of protestors there last month and judges like the one in New York who ruled that protestors could return to Zuccotti Park after Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered their eviction.  Unfortunately, the New York Supreme Court has ruled against occupy protestors having a right to set up tents which are instrumental to truly occupying the space.

What I long for is the day when my brother officers will break up gatherings of the true criminals, corporate lobbyists, who occupy the halls of congress unchecked rather than their own people who dare to occupy Wall Street and numerous other cities around the globe. 

But you see, what Bloomberg has done is indicative of the problem the movement is standing against. Whether it is a small town mayor fixing tickets issued to buddies of the local car dealerships owner or a mayor of a major US city catering to investment bankers, our leaders no longer have time to listen or care for the plight of the common man.  They are too busy answering to their corporate masters seeking the almighty dollar that will get them reelected.  I suspect that Bloomberg answered the calls of Wall Street Bankers to end the madness and ordered his police to act in much the same way that a mayor in small town America would tell his police chief to do away with a traffic ticket issued to friends of the town’s power brokers.  These power brokers are allowed to run amuck with impunity while actual rights are stripped from the common man at their command.  That is just one of many issues involving corporate power and greed that the movement Bloomberg tried to break up, is all about.

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