Dissing America's Right to Dissent

When George W was governor of our state, we Texans learned first hand of a deep, anti-democratic flaw in his make-up: He abhors dissent and is totally dismissive not only of dissenters, but also of the people's right to dissent.

As governor, as presidential candidate, and now as president, Bush's unconscionable (and, I think, unConstitutional) disrespect of our fundamental right to question authority and confront power has surfaced again and again in an alarming "Bush Doctrine of Contained Dissent." What this amouts to is an imperious decision that any and all protestors must literally be corralled -- kept in protest pens well beyond the sight and sound of his eminence... and of the media.

In Texas, Governor Bush's security police suddenly swept down on a group of peaceful picketers who were on the public sidewalk in front of the governor's mansion -- a sidewalk that historically has been the site of protest. At this time, George was launching his presidential run, and he simply didn't want these dissenters to his environmental policies getting between him and the TV cameras -- so he had the state police move them to a designated protest zone in a faraway parking lot.

At the Republican presidential nominating convention in Philadelphia in 2000, candidate Bush created a fenced in, out-of-sight protest zone that would only hold a few hundred people at a time. And, as president, his autocratic games continue -- for example, last year at the Columbia, South Carolina, airport, a protester with a "No War for Oil" sign stood in an area where Bush supporters stood. The protester was ordered to move a half-mile away. He refused, so Bush's police arrested him.

This is not America, the Land of the Free, but a new land of Bush autocracy. Four groups have now sued the secret service for systematically shutting out the people's protest. To learn more, call the American Civil Liberties Union in Philadelphia at: 215-923-4357.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.