Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What's With That?

So in today’s Post Tribune there is an article about Martha Seroczynski’s request for an extension from the Porter County Board of Commissioners to protest the war in Iraq. Apparently the initial request was granted in June for 30 days, said protest to occur on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

The article states:
“Commissioner John Evans, R-North District, told Seroczynski that county policy requires her to show proof her homeowner’s insurance will cover her for any accident or injury that might result from the protest, thus clearing the county of any liability.” Board President Bob Harper, D-Center District, countered. “It’s a freedom of speech issue.”

Looks like there was some wrangling at this point – Seroczynski said she was asking simply to protest on the sidewalks in and around the courthouse, not on the grounds. One of the commissioners asked who owned the sidewalks. A couple others said they didn’t even think she needed permission to protest. Another said that “The right of free speech is not unconditional; the government has the right to place reasonable time, manner and place.”

Seroczynksi pressed forward saying, “Are you denying me my right?”

At that point it was decided that permission could be granted with the stipulation that proof of insurance be provided before protesting, which received a unanimous response.

In the end it appears that the group, “likely four people total, will conduct their protests on Wednesdays only because time constraints have made it difficult for everybody to also gather on Mondays and Fridays”. It sounds like there’s a real need here for the commissioners to be concerned. What’s with that?

The last time we drove through the intersection of Ridge Road and Route 41 there were about a half dozen protestors at the memorial with signs that encouraged motorists to honk if they agreed that the troops should be brought home. You could hear the horns honking. Some shouted ugliness instead. It was an open exchange. It was raising awareness. It was showing concern. It was agreeing to disagree. It’s important to have that right, even if it is only Martha and her three compatriots. What would become of us if there was no voice of opposition? Well done, Martha.


Blogger willi said...

Another said that “The right of free speech is not unconditional; the government has the right to place reasonable time, manner and place.”

In the Post Tribune today was a column by Nick Egnatz of the End the War in Iraq group. In it he cites a list of characteristics of fascist governments gleaned from research of Hitler, Mussolini and others. Seems like some the Porter County Board of Commissioners read the article too. They just did not understand the significance of the characteristics of fascism as it might relate to their own decisions.

7:58 PM  
Blogger mjd said...

You are "right well done Martha." Miles and I participated in a Peace Demonstration in Porter County prior to the current conflict in Iraq. I am not sure, but I do not believe that the organizers filed any proof of homeownwer's insurance. A group of about twenty of us gathered at the Chapel at Valparaiso University, and we walked to the Porter County courthouse carrying candles. Well, was that hazardous? Could we set the sidewalk on fire?

This sounds simliar to literacy tests given to some voters before the Civil Rights Bill. A made-up criterion to withhold rights from certain citizens. This sounds like what happened to Martha. Or at least, these commisioners seem determined to discourage Martha from protesting the war. Go get'em Martha.

8:50 PM  
Blogger daddy d said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:23 PM  
Blogger daddy d said...

It seems that those in power don't know their own job. This the USA. I am glad there is proper balance in the formal structure of government. Now, the daily practice needs to happen.

1:28 PM  
Blogger gawilli said...

Agreed that balance is a good thing. I recently read an opinion piece that used the term "republicrats". As unlikely as this sounds, I do sometimes wonder if either one really represents us well. I often find myself selecting the lesser of two evils.

4:23 PM  

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