Free Speech is Not Always Free

Last Thursday at the Rhode Island Statehouse, the Occupy Providence folks joined by the “professionals” from Occupy Wall Street finally clarified their muddled message a bit while shutting down the Rhode Island Right to Life Committee’s annual rally in the rotunda.  Apparently greed is bad; abortion is good.  Abortion is so good, even though it already ends 23% of pregnancies in Rhode Island, there needs to be more of them, and indeed killing our unborn children should be an entitlement paid for with public tax dollars, breaching both tradition and the law in Rhode Island.

The governor, Lincoln Chaffee, recently issued an executive order to create the health benefit exchanges mandated by Obamacare.  When the state senate refused to pass the exchanges allowing abortion funding, the good governor took it upon himself to design them with the mandated payments for abortion.  This executive order is being challenged in the courts.  The Occupiers, like the governor, prefer administrative fiat and publically funded abortions, seizing by edict that which must be the legislature’s prerogative.  This strategy of executive strong-arming is exactly what President Obama explicitly has promised us should he be reelected.  The legislature be damned.

To reinforce their message, the Occupiers engaged in brown shirt thuggery and exercised their First Amendment rights by booing down the free speech of those who would exercise theirs.  Palpable anger, whistles, bumping, bullying grandmothers and children, fist pumping and pelting the high school girls of LaSalle Academy with condoms were taken, it seems, from the playbook of dilettante revolutionaries.  The well planned, orchestrated and slowly intensifying commotion started with signs and escalated with incremental crowding of the podium and intimidation of especially young pro life speakers to the point of making further speeches or prayers impossible.

They hooted down Barth Bracy, Executive Director of RIRTL, when he was telling them they weren’t part of the 99%, but a remnant of the survivors in the 77% of their demographic who dodged the abortionist.  Father Bernard Healey, who represented the Diocese of Providence, was prevented from leading the closing prayer.  The diocese actually implemented the homeless shelter that the Occupiers have been demanding ineffectually for months from the City of Providence.  Father Healey, an affable, intelligent man with a ready sense of humor, would have liked to pray for the mothers, the babies and the Occupy Providence mob, but was prevented from doing so.

These “revolutionaries” will eventually take showers (one would hope – those nearest them at the rally told us that personal hygiene was not their strong suit) and go back to their classrooms at Brown to check on their trust funds, but in the meanwhile they played winter camping out in tents in Burnside Park and disrupted the orderly gatherings of those with whom they disagree. Perhaps the Brown University Swearer Center for Public Service would consider setting up a homeless center themselves with the dorm capacity vacated by the Occupiers.  However, I suspect the Brown public service community is more comfortable with the theoretical when it comes to helping the homeless; the messy details are best left to other than the chardonnay crowd.

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras should follow the lead of the more courageous leadership in New York and Boston.  The time is past due for the Providence police to don their Tyvek hazardous material suits and filtered masks, clean out the tents and disinfect the area for use by the 99% of Providence residents and taxpayers who used to enjoy the park.

Freedom of speech is not a sometimes thing, available only to the loud and noxious.  The vast majority of Americans greatly value the right of peaceable assembly to express to their lawmakers their most heartfelt views on critical issues.  Pity the few who don’t so value the First Amendment and overrun that right for the rest of us with adolescent tantrums.

To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.  Frederick Douglass
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7 Comments

Filed under Politics and government

7 responses to “Free Speech is Not Always Free

  1. Greg

    Jack,
    I visited the Occupy Boston camp several times as it was right across the street from my office. I didn’t witness an event or speech that made a heck of a lot of sense to me. Their positions on topics were ambiguous at best and belligerent at worse.
    You are correct; they didn’t smell so swell either.

    I remember the Vietnam protests on the common, the folks there weren’t not concerned so much with hygiene as well but certainly had a clear and obvious message…..and they were right!

    It is appalling that these people are allowed to “commandeer” common land for whatever purpose they pretend to represent while shouting down people defending a position that needs it so badly in this country.

    I’m not saying that there aren’t issues in today that are worthy of protest, I say make your change in November, make certain you put your trust fund prospective away long enough to make your statement.

    Vote the fraud out…..and hopefully elect someone ( if they exist) who will work within the system, as opposed to, the brown shirt mentality that presides in the Whitehouse today.
    Keep up the good work.

    Like

  2. Diane Caracciolo

    Thank You for sharing this piece, I will certainly pass this on.
    Personally, I left the event on Thursday wondering why the capitol police didn’t do more to protect the integrity of the rally,
    especially since most people knew that opposing voices were rallying their forces to disrupt this peaceful gathering. Hopefully they will debrief
    the challenges of the day and devise a better plan going forward.
    Beyond that it was certainly a life lesson on group psychology. OP
    gave us a blatant picture of comrades rooted in ignorance with intimidating
    tactics.
    As I was leaving the rally one of the snippy OP/collegiate/thugs made a beeline to me as I was getting onto the elevator to leave the building.
    I was very relieved when I pushed a button that closed him out. Traveling alone on the elevator, I thought about how grateful I was to escape any possible abuse from such an ignorant pawn in this war. I also felt a sense of gratitude to all of my LIFE friends who when “push came to shove” chose not to retaliate in like manner but instead moved in compassion by responding in His grace bringing glory to Our Lord.

    Like

    • Ralph Davis

      Well Diane I am glad that you shared this and in a concise and interesting way! You are a good writer.

      The behavior of OP at the recent event should not have come as a shock to many of us. After all, last year the traditional marriage rally was overrun in a similar manner by the rainbow coalition.

      I challenge anyone to heckle Chafee, or Fox, or others; just to see the outcome. You would probably be given one warning and then be arrested if you refuse to quiet down.

      Against the Right-to-Lifers a “hate crime” has been committed. They were spoken-over, yelled at, shoved, insulted, and completely denied their right to assemble peacefully. There was plenty of hate speech and lots of anger. Typical of uninformed, disorganized and petulant groups, the OP does not seem to understand what they were rebelling against.

      This irony reared its head the as OP abused the rights of the pro-life folks who are comprised of the 99% to champion the 1%. Planned Parenthood has recently exceeded ONE BILLION DOLLARS in assets. Last year we 99% gave over 487 MILLION to Planned Parenthood by the government allocating our taxes to pay for it. This huge money pit receives of 85% of its income from abortions. Abortion doctors make lots and lots of money and are among the 1%; killing is very profitable.

      The remarkable thing is that Christians allow a group of non-believers to deny them their constitutional right to assemble and to exercise free speech. The law did not step in and the Rhode Island Right to Life rally was ruined; the capital police seemed neutral, never really coming to the aid of the group. There should have been some arrests. These people were breaking the law.

      The Gay Rights parades shut down the city each year, filling streets and virtually commandeering Weybosset Street for several hours. The event is city and police sanctioned with many officers putting in extra hours for the event. This does not include the cost of clean-up afterwards.

      Christians have every right to assemble and make just as much noise and technically are due the same police coverage. Why don’t we? The question seems so obvious to ponder. If many Christians were to march the streets in the name of God and calling out His Name then our Lord would be getting some exposure. If the rally was interrupted by others, the Lord would get exposure; His Name would get out. If the police were involved and chose to arrest, His Name would get out in the cruiser and the jail. If the media got involved His Name would get exposed. The media would be hard pressed to misquote “Jesus is Lord.” And so on.

      What is everyone afraid of?

      ????

      Like

    • Ralph Davis

      Well Diane I am glad that you shared this and in a concise and interesting way! You are a good writer.

      The behavior of OP at the recent event should not have come as a shock to most of us. After all, last year the traditional marriage rally was overrun in a similar manner by the rainbow coalition.

      I challenge anyone to heckle Chafee, or Fox, or others; just to see the outcome. You would probably be given one warning and then be arrested if you refuse to quiet down.

      Against the Right-to-Lifers a “hate crime” has been committed. They were spoken-over, yelled at, shoved, insulted, and completely denied their right to assemble peacefully. There was plenty of hate speech and lots of anger. Typical of uninformed, disorganized and petulant groups, the OP does not seem to understand what they were rebelling against.

      This irony reared its head the as OP abused the rights of the pro-life folks who are comprised of the 99% to champion the 1%. Planned Parenthood has recently exceeded ONE BILLION DOLLARS in assets. Last year we 99% gave over 487 MILLION to Planned Parenthood by the government allocating our taxes to pay for it. This huge money pit receives of 85% of its income from abortions. Abortion doctors make lots and lots of money and are among the 1%; killing is very profitable.

      The remarkable this is that Christians allow a group of non-believers to deny them their constitutional right to assemble and to exercise free speech. The law did not step in and the Rhode Island Right to Life rally was ruined; the capital police seemed neutral, never really coming to the aid of the group. There should have been some arrests. These people were breaking the law.

      The Gay Rights parades shut down the city each year, filling streets and virtually commandeering Weybosset Street for several hours. The event is city and police sanctioned with many officers putting in extra hours for the event. This does not include the cost of clean-up afterwards.

      Christians have every right to assemble and make just as much noise and technically are due the same police coverage. Why don’t we? The question seems so obvious to ponder. If many Christians were to march the streets in the name of God and calling out His Name then our Lord would be getting some exposure. If the rally was interrupted by others, the Lord would get exposure; His Name would get out. If the police were involved and chose to arrest, His Name would get out in the cruiser and the jail. If the media got involved His Name would get exposed. The media would be hard pressed to misquote “Jesus is Lord.” And so on.

      What is everyone afraid of?

      ????

      Like

  3. In the spirit of full disclosure, on Sunday, the Occupiers packed up their tents and decamped. I didn’t mention the potential for that in the blog because they had several times in the past announced other dates certain that they would clean up and leave. And they didn’t leave.

    The Diocese of Providence opened a homeless center; OP declared victory and quit the field. From their self serving perspective, they took a hostage (Burnside Park) and coerced a concession (homeless shelter). That one of the Church’s prime missions is and will always be to serve the poor irrespective of outside influence seems to have escaped their notice. They retreated back to creature comforts like warm beds, soap and toilet paper and temporarily at least called it a day. I look forward to a tranquil occasional walk through Burnside.

    Like

  4. Rita

    Yes, Diane, I too wondered why the Capitol police didn’t do more. The occupiers were very subduded in the beginning of the rally, but when they began to crowd the podium, the police should have demanded they back away. At one point Barth asked for help and they did move people back but as soon as they left, it began to happen again. They should have stayed by the podium and assured the speakers their right to speak unharrased.

    It was a very intimidating enviroment and I too left a few minutes early to get some fresh air and avoid any further confrontation. I’d never experienced this kind of intimidation first hand, and it left me feeling sad and confused.

    I only hope it will galvanize the pro-life movement in RI and next year we will have so many pro-lifers at the rally, there won’t be enough room for anyone else.

    Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The truth will not remain crushed forever.”

    Like

  5. Gary B

    Unfortunately, for some, freedom of speech is only permissable if you agree with their point of view. The liberals who complain about diversity are not a very inclusive bunch as it turns out.

    The ballot box is the only way to fix this but we need to win the culture war first.

    Like

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