Letter from the Editor 

Last week the president of the United States paid a visit to our fair city to attend a fund-raiser for senatorial candidate Bob Corker. Along the motorcade's route in East Memphis were many well-wishers who held signs supporting President Bush.

Elsewhere in East Memphis, another group of people were holding signs that weren't so friendly toward W. These folks were herded into a "free-speech zone." Which is smart thinking. Having all those un-American types in one spot makes it easier to photograph and I.D. them.

Paranoid? Nope. It happened during the civil rights and anti-war protests in the '60s and '70s. Government dossiers were kept on hundreds of people -- from Martin Luther King to John Lennon to some of the students who led marches on the campus of the University of Missouri, where I went to school. Remember Nixon's "enemies list"?

Look, the idea of herding peaceful protesters into a "free-speech zone" is so wrong, so unAmerican so many levels, it's positively Orwellian. Free speech means just that. The president and Congress work for us. The government belongs to us. It is not supposed to be herding dissidents into "zones" of any kind.

What makes all this more frightening is that our gutless Republican Congress (aided and abetted by 34 gutless Democrats), just passed a bill that grants the administration the right to round up anyone it deems a "non-uniformed combatant" and imprison them without many of the legal recourses guaranteed by our Constitution or the Geneva Conventions. All this, of course, in addition to the intrusive powers granted through the equally Orwellian Patriot Act and the spying powers Bush and friends just took it upon themselves to secretly instigate.

So what happens if the next adminstration is Democratic? Will those who now blindly support giving the American president the powers of a monarch be as supportive when, say, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama sits on the throne?

I doubt it. Which is why it's so dangerous when one party controls all three branches of government. Power corrupts, and the corrupt are now in power. Vote next month as though your way of life depends on it. Because it does.

This space, by the way, is a free-speech zone. For now.

Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor

brucev@MemphisFlyer.com

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Pick a Side

    • Dumb and Dumber

Blogs

Music Blog

2017 Memphis Music Hall of Fame inductees announced

News Blog

Tennessee Tourism Broke Records (Again) Last Year

Politics Beat Blog

Angry Mayor Responds to Critics on Statue Removal

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Eclipse Special

From My Seat

Q & A: Stubby Clapp

Politics Beat Blog

Sen. Kyle Offers Bill to Allow Statue Removal

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Bruce VanWyngarden

Readers also liked…

  • Making Tennessee Great Again!

    I'm writing this from the restroom facility at Big Hill Pond State Park in southern McNairy County. On Monday, I commandeered the building, which contains the men's and women's restrooms, some racks of pamphlets, and two vending machines. There's no one here right now, but I plan to stay as long as necessary to protest the fact that the state of Tennessee is run by oppressive know-nothings who wouldn't know small government — or freedom, for that matter — if it bit them on their considerable backsides ...

    • Jan 7, 2016
  • Checking Your Privilege

    • Apr 27, 2017
  • Zooey and Bowie

    Time moves in one direction, memory in another. — William Gibson

    This week, an old friend sent me a photo of myself, circa 1978. In the picture, I was thin, long-haired, and standing barefoot on the porch of an old farmhouse where we lived, just outside of Columbia, Missouri. It was a shock to see it. I don't remember my friends and I taking many photographs, and I didn't remember this moment ...

    • Jan 14, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation