Tuesday, September 04, 2007

More press on why peace is evil

Yesterday I wrote about an incident at a Springfield Cardinals baseball game, in which the protest group Code Pink unfurled a small banner with the word "Impeach" at a game honoring disabled veterans. The group was thrown out of the game, ostensibly for disturbing the peace. How about that?

Local reaction to the incident has been almost universally against Code Pink, the most popular reaction being, "How dare such a group dishonor our veterans that way!" As I said yesterday, such a statement goes against everything veterans fight for. Freedom of speech one of our most basic rights as Americans, and its application can't harm anyone in nearly the same magnitude that war has. Also, too many people fail to make the distinction between the soldiers in the field and civilian political leadership. A call to "impeach" can only apply to one of those camps, the one that isn't the military.

Judging by the reactions to yesterday's article, however, nothing could be further from the truth. I'll spare you actual quotage, but the prevailing thought there can be summed up thus:

"Code Pink ruined the veterans' outing with such an outrageous act! They clearly have no appreciation for the veterans' sacrifices so that jerks like them can do what they did. Code Pink are terrorists just like al-Qaida, and good people should have beaten them up and put them in the hospital!"

Yes, someone actually said he wanted to put them in the hospital. Now that's how you stick up for the legacy of disabled veterans!

For those of you interested in a reasoned editorial against Code Pink (albeit one diametrically opposed to my own stance in many ways), read today's opinion page. Note that the writer makes no testosterone-laced physical threats, and does not equate any form of free speech with terrorism. Indeed, he argues that impeachment would be counter-productive and the real issue is how to handle the Iraq problem through bipartisan cooperation. Critics of Code Pink (and of impeachment itself) should take notes.

I urge anyone wanting to understand how the neocons have been able to run roughshod over the past decade - whether you're in Springfield, New Orleans, Washington or even the super-important New Hampshire - to look no further than this comment string. The problem isn't that this country has strayed from its roots, or even that political sentiment has simply swung. The problem runs deeper than that; many people have forgotten even the basic tenets of democracy, and these are currently the most-courted voters among a Republican Party increasingly clinging to its eroding support. True change begins with reminding Americans what such a label means in the first place.

Only then can civil dialogue on the issues happen.


Jason said...

Civil dialogue can begin when people stop branding those with differing opinions with labels and/or pretend they are promoting a group or message they aren't just so you can continue to hound your ideology.

I really hope you don't believe the only people who've forgotten the "basic tenets of democracy" are only Republican supporters.

Ian McGibboney said...

I'm not sure who you're referring to specifically here, but this is how the chat forum largely looks to me:

1) Pro-war, pro-Bush comments advocating beatings and/or silencing of Code Pink members;

2) People who respect Code Pink's rights to speech, even if they disagreed with the message and/or the timing thereof.

Only one group here engages in ad hominem attacks and calls for violence. And while both sides could use some civility, one needs it much more than the other.

Cajun Tiger said...

Question: Is a baseball stadium public property or private property? I'm not really sure as I know most use taxpayer dollars to build it, but they are run by a private organization not the government. That is a very important question to ask in this situation.

If it is public property then as much as a disagree with their message and think it was completely dispicable to do on the Veteran's night, they have every right to do so and they should not have been kicked out.

However, if it is private property, they have no free speech right as the owner of the stadium has the right to regulate what happens in his stadium and they were rightly ejected. They can protest all they want on the street in front of the stadium but not in the stadium itself.

Ian McGibboney said...

Here are the facts:

1) The stadium is private.

2) The group silently unveiled the banner at the end of the second inning and again in the sixth. Only after complaints from the second unveiling were the group asked to leave.

3) The banner holders were veterans themselves.

4) In the past, the stadium has allowed personal banners, few if any of which have ever incurred the same reaction (and some have been political in nature).

I appreciate the premise of private property. But I think in the case of a ballpark, that rule should be used with wide discretion, because it is a large gathering spot and the audience is not captive. If it were captive, advertising would not be allowed in it (and, of course, no one's complaining about how ads ruin their good time, even if they are).

Cajun Tiger said...

But it isn't a first amendment violation, so no ones rights were violated.