Tuesday, September 30, 2008

First Amendment and the Campaigns: No Signs on Public Property??

As a Virginian, I take alot of the sacrifices that have been undertaken by our ancestors very seriously. I especially get very frustrated when in modern times we allow the very things that our forefathers fought for and defended simply be cast aside for a modern day photo-op.

I hold contempt for the modern political campaign that would suspend rights granted under our Consititution while they campaign and then expect that we should feel confident that they will execute the office in which they seek and defend the very Constitution that on the campaign trail shred at various events.

Both campaigns may certainly be guilty of this, but recently it was the Barack Obama campaign here in the Commonwealth of Virginia at the University of Mary Washington that banned free speech for the purposes of a campaign rally.

Did Barack Obama forget exactly where he was? Did he forget that he was standing on hallowed ground?

Mary Washington, last time I checked, is a state-supported, public university which receives state tax dollars in support of its operations. In effect, all of us Virginians own it. In fact, the insurance policy carried on the very facilities in which were used by the Obama campaign are paid for from State resources funded by tax dollars. If something had happened there, would it not be the State who would be on the hook?

The Obama campaign banned all signs for the event stating it was being done as a matter of safety. Safety? Okay, I get the no golf umbrella thing at Major sporting events, but no signs expressing freedom of speech on State property?

Did the Obama campaign take a page out of UVA' s book? After the drubbing UVA was handed by Duke (31-3) I guess there is reasons for the "Fire Groh" signs to come back but the schools policy against signs at football games was one reason I will never contribute to the Alumni Fund or any UVA fundraiser. The Stadium is located on campus and like Mary Washington is part of the State system. Your tax dollars as work.

So it begs the question, why would a public University or a community cave to a political campaign and ban freedom of speech on public property during an event held on a Virginia campus?

Is it because those running our higher education believe they are above the declaration of rights under our Constitution and have the power to dismiss such rights, if but temporarily, for the purposes of promoting a political campaign?

After this election season, I would like to see a bill come before our General Assembly that would not permit any political campaign rallys on State supported property, especially if they plan to usurp the Constitution in any manner whatsoever. Our State system is based on tax payer support and should be recognized as such in the future and any University President whom allows the suspension of rights should be held accountable by the State or at the very least the community in which the University is located.

By the way, the U.S. Secret Service has stated that signs are in no way a security issue. So I think the Obama campaign should rethink its rationale for banning signs and removing signs from the crowds at rallies.


Jim said...

I have never understood the ability to undertake such measures.

Is the police complicit in enforcing such measures at a rally?

Are the communities simply thankful for the permit fee paid to the locality that they are willing to turn the other cheek to the Constitution?

The older our nation gets the more it seems we are losing our true indentity.

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