Not every election ends as one hopes. That’s true for major-party members, and at least as much for members of third parties. There are millions of people disappointed that Pres. Obama was re-elected, as there were many who were disappointed that Pres. Bush was re-elected. Neither outcome is what many Americans wanted, although in both cases an absolute majority of those voting re-elected the incumbent.
What’s changed about America, for the worse, is that a small and shrill number are so dissatisfied that they toss about threats of secession, extreme claims to a right of armed revolution that could never reasonably apply to our times, calls to arrest federal officials conducting their duties within Wisconsin, or efforts to disrupt peaceful protests with insistence on these wrongful claims.
Consider the unfortunate case of a peaceful group, Wisconsin Guns Across America, that wants to demonstrate on behalf of their Second Amendment rights. They’re nonviolent, are organizing to assemble peaceably, to protest what they consider excessive firearms regulations. Despite their sincere efforts, they’ve had to suffer utter loons who will only tarnish their Wisconsin Capitol protest:
Fellow Patriots: It has come to our attention that some of the side bar conversations that are occurring, have alarmed some of our fellow patriots that are planning on bringing their families to the event on Saturday. The event page is meant to help quickly and effectively get logistical information from the organizers out to families that want to come to celebrate and promote their second amendment rights with us on Saturday. We at Wisconsin’s Guns Across America Event do NOT condone any messages or behaviors that even hint at revolutions or domestic terrorism, even if it’s just offered up as a response to a “Highly Hypothetical Situation.” If you want to have that type of dialogue, please find a different place to do so. Any comments that can be interpreted to be threatening or intended to incite violence will be taken seriously; you will be banned from this page, and reported to The Wisconsin Capitol Police. This is not up for discussion.
I have a responsibility to all who are present to preserve order and peace. And I have a responsibility to adhere to Facebook’s Terms of Service. “See Part 3 Safety, Part 7 You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or incites violence. “Paraphrased” I ask that you refrain from posting anything questionable. If you think some of your posts might possibly be objectionable, I encourage you to take them down. Time is drawing near for our event. I ask that we stay focused on the true meaning of this rally. That is: Peaceful Protest against any new Gun Laws represented before Congress.
Thank you for all your support!
Earl Arrowood – WI Organizer/Guns Across America
As a secondary problem, extreme threats and claims only offer an excuse for over-reaching officials to harass peaceful protesters, photographers, and activists. There should (and really can) be no relent on asserting one’s rights, but the actual threats of a few make exaggerations about peaceful speech more tempting for government officials. Once that appetite is whetted…
We’ve had episodes in our history of excessive fears over peaceful conduct (such as overblown claims of a lack of patriotism during the First World War and during subsequent Red Scares). No doubt, Kaiser Wilhelm II’s Germany was an autocratic place, and communism was and always will be an immoral, oppressive ideology, but nonviolent opposition to that war or discussions of Marxism should not have been tantamount to crimes.
People of diverse views will still exercise their rights under the law, the false claims and wrongful conduct of a few others notwithstanding.
But “if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow…”
Posted also at Daily Adams.