The Streets Belong to the People

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So I’m going to tell you a story. When I was a young child, my parents would take me to anti-abortion protests. These almost always involved civil disobedience (blocking entrances, etc.). No one was ever violent. We were also almost all white. I was about 6. The police would come, they would apologize for having to arrest people, and they would cuff everyone and put them into a police bus.

Civil disobedience is part of American culture. Police and military are supposed to be faithful to the Constitution, and sometimes the Constitution overrules the edicts of petty local tyrants. The people have the right to peaceably assemble. There’s no qualification on that right. The streets belong to the people. If the people choose to stand in them and peacefully protest, the only thing the police or military should be doing is making sure cars don’t run over them. That’s IT. The streets belong to the people whose taxes pay for them.

Watching all of the violence and unbelievably out-of-proportion response by those with the guns, batons and tear gas is horrifying. This is not how it was 30 years ago – it’s much WORSE!

They want to say “hey, 99% of cops are great!” Yah, well 99% of the protesters aren’t harming anyone or anything, either, but here we are tear gassing entire crowds of men, women and children. My wife and I talked about going to the Plaza protest on Saturday, but we feared for our children’s safety – not from the protestors, but from the police response. That’s not what America is supposed to be. I shouldn’t be afraid to go hold a sign on the Plaza with my children in tow, but I am.

99% of cops may well be great, I’ve always believed that. But watching how they have banded together to put the boot on the necks of the people they swore to protect and serve – that’s a hard pill to swallow.