The Seattle Times editorial page, whose self-declared mission is:
To be the most respected editorial voice in the Northwestand
To be a forum for community dialogue and learning.Today brings us in lieu of respectable editorial dialogue and learning, another piece of humorous fiction from Molly Ivins. Ivins is worried that the FBI is "targeting peace groups"
Now, of the various menaces faced by our republic, I must admit peace groups are not high on my list. A motley assortment of vegetarians, Unitarians, Quakers, miscellaneous pacifists, unclassified idealists, sweet damn fools, followers of Gandhi and Dr. King, and some others I suspect are far ahead of the rest of us both morally and politically.In fact, if you read the actual news reports whose ink fumes Ivins apparently only inhaled, you will see that the FBI is not targeting "peace groups", but that
FBI officials said in interviews that the intelligence-gathering effort was aimed at identifying anarchists and "extremist elements" plotting violence, not at monitoring the political speech of law-abiding protesters.Oh. Ivins also believes that
Some peace people also use civil disobedience as a tactic. For those who need a refresher course, civil disobedience -- as opposed to just getting arrested at a demo -- is deliberately breaking a law you consider unjust and being prepared to pay the legal penalty for doing so. Those engaging in civil disobedience do not attempt to avoid or evade arrest, they go willingly, often limply, and stay in jail singing "Kumbayah" as long as the law prescribes. Not a public menace.First of all, many of the self-appointed "peace protesters" (more accurately, the "keep Saddam in office" folks) have damaged property and assaulted police officers. And those who deliberately try to get arrested under the pretence their actions are "non-violent" are indeed acting as a public menace. They choose to obstruct the movement and activities of innocent people and they endanger public safety by diverting police attention from other crimes.
Since when have one's constitutional rights depended on one's political opinions? I have news for the Bush administration: This country is a free speech zone. There are no zoning ordinances that apply to our rights. Freedom is a beautiful thing, and it is fantastic to come to a country where people are free to express their views. Let us give thanks.Yes, Molly Ivins, it is fantastic to live in a country where you can get your column published in dozens of newspapers no matter how silly your opinions or specious your arguments, and where the only resistance you encounter is from guys like me, who point out your fallacies and ask you to try harder to be more honest.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at December 01, 2003 04:17 PM