Thursday, August 12, 2004

how times change...

In 1991, when King George the Elder began beating the drums of war, a good many of my friends were adamant in their opposition to military action. War wasn't the answer, they chanted. No blood for oil, they insisted. In contrast to them were the Zionists who believed that Saddam Hussein needed to be removed from Kuwait and hopefully from power by any means necessary. There were a good many campus debates, some louder than others. And when it came to wider action, many of my friends went to Washington to protest the war--hundreds of thousands of people marching against a military action for which there was at least justification, even if we didn't exactly like the idea.

But what happens during the reign of King George the Junior? As the protest drums begin to beat, law enforcement officials from the federal to the local governments pull on their gauntlets and wipe the dust off their riot shields. Warnings are issued that protestors are every bit as dangerous as terrorists--and far easier to find. In an astonishing destruction of our constitutionally protected rights of free speech and assembly, the government has fomented a climate where free speech in the name of dissent is equal to treason, and even equated with the murder of three thousand unwitting people. What is also astonishing, however, is the silence of the media, lawmakers, and general public.