A Progressive Alamedan

Various writings from a resident of Alameda regarding the political scene. The local perspective of local, state and national politics and a few other odds and ends of local concern. May not be particularly interesting to people outside of the Alameda area.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Shame on the Mayor and the Fourth of July Parade Committee

The test of democracy is freedom of criticism.
David Ben-Gurion

The Fourth of July is the day we celebrate our nation's independence, and, indirectly, our freedoms that were written in the form of constitutional amendments starting in 1791.

The very first of these amendments — I would say it's the first because it's the most important — guarantees freedom of speech.

And so on on the very day we celebrate our nation's birthday, Alameda is cracking down on the first amendment.

Lauren Do broke the story earlier this week. Several candidates for office are not being allowed to express the fact that they are running for office!

All of the arguments that they make are ridiculous; I'll let you catch more details on Lauren's blog post.

Usually I am proud of Alameda, but this week I feel like Alameda is one of those back-water towns you hear about occasionally that get into a controversy (usually with the ACLU stepping in) when an unpopular group tries to express its views in a parade or other public display. And even though I would agree with the majority of the people that those people were scumbags, this is America, and it's their right to express their unpopular opinions.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
Evelyn Beatrice Hall

So this weekend, I say Shame on Mayor Beverly Johnson. And Shame on City Attorney Teresa L. Highsmith. And shame on the Mayor's Fourth of July Parade Committee.

If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.
Noam Chomsky

Happy Birthday, America, and have a great Parade, Alameda. Just don't be surprised if more groups are restricted next year. Unless we put a stop to this right now.


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