But how things have changed once the Obamessiah is in office. Now that Obama has reached the Promised Land (and intends to drag the country with him into the depths of mass socialization), a mere First amendment protest can be grounds for police or Secret Service harassment, as a now-approving Press looks on complacently. I warned of this shortly after the election, when I noted Obama's long-standing aversion to any sort of criticism.
Now, the results of this aversion are beginning to show. According to a report in the NewsOK site, an Oklahoma City man was hassled by both the local Oklahoma City police and the Secret Service for carrying a sigh saying 'Abort Obama'. According to the NewsOK site,
The police officers who stopped Oklahoma City motorist Chip Harrison and confiscated a sign from his car told him he has a right to his beliefs, but the Secret Service "could construe this as a threat against President Obama," according to the incident report released this morning.
Now I have no problem understanding the actions of the Oklahoma City police, especially as it seems the Secret Service was putting them under some pressure, although i think they went a little overboard. However, the story continues that the man was then visited by the Secret Service. This strikes me as harassment. Where were the secret Service when most of the literati and the political Left were issuing threats against President Bush? I certainly do not recall any stories about the Secret Service investigating these people. And since these people were preaching how 'brave' they were in standing up to power, one would think the media would be filled with those stories. There were certainly enough instances of Bush-hatred spilling out in signs, speech and other formats. Yet I cannot recall a single story of the Secret Service investigating.
But now, a sign that does have some potential ambiguity is cause for a citizen's First Amendment rights to be severely crimped? And even the Oklahoma news media cannot find any room to complain? The story appears to be written in a largely neutral voice, so apparently the Oklahoman newspaper is fine with government enforcing speech restrictions that were certainly not in effect during the last Administration. If the man had sported a sign proposing a violent death or even some bodily harm to the President, i would completely understand the actions of the authorities. But this is a case where it appears over-zealousness to stamp out criticism was the cause.
Liberals have liong been the party of censorship. Think back on the campaign trail and recall that not Gore, not kerry and not Obama was comfortable giving full access to reporters, and in fact the reporters mildly complained about it- even as they propagandized for their chosen candidates. Hillary Clinton was the same way- I recall a report from a reporter on her campaign about how she kept the media at arm's length. And the Democrats are the party who tries to suppress speech they disagree with via 'speech codes', the grossly misnamed 'Fariness Doctrine' and other Orwellian techniques. The Democrats, ladies and gentlemen, not the Republicans. None of these are creations of Reprublicans- they are creations of the Left.
And in government, did the Republicans shut the Democrats out of policy? When they proposed the so-called 'nuclear option' in the Senate, howls of protest arose from the media and every Democrat. But now, when the Democrats have gone even further to ensure that Republicans cannot participate in government, there is only silence from the media. Do these so-called 'professional journalists' not understand that censorship is a weapon that, once allowed, will sooner or later surely be used against them as well? I guess partisanship is more important that actually doing their job.
Obama himself is no stranger to the idea of political censorship. When a reporter on the campaign trail dared to ask hard-hitting questions, his station was banned from any further interviews. And Obama also banned the Washington Times, the Dallas Morning News and the New York Post (three newspapers that endorsed John McCain for President) from his campaign plane. It is no coincidence that these three newspapers are among the very few conservative news voices in the country. They were likely to be more critical of Obama, and he does not react well to criticism.
So I believe that we will be seeing more of this type of thing as Obama gathers the reins of power ever more tightly. As reported by the intrepid Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air, he has already removed the independence of the internal Inspector Generals with a hidden provision in his monster pork bill. This essentially removes any chance of an independent investigation into the 'Most Ethical Congress In History'.
Ultimately, i think that Obama will fail to completely eradicate the First Amendment, but he will probably do such severe damage that for conservatives and other members of the loyal opposition, we will be watching our backs very carefully for the next eight years- or however long the Obamedia can run interference for him and his cronies in 'The Most Ethical Congress In history'.
I predicted that America had sold itself out in this past election. i do not back away from that prediction- I think that by the end of Oabam's term in office, we will have essentially given the right to free speech only to those favored of the liberals, and we will have created a permanent class dependent entirely on government. that is what brought Rome down and that is what may bring us down as well. I predicted after the election that the United States had at most a hundred years of life remaining. I may have been slightly pessimistic, but I doubt that our great-grandchildren will see the bastion of liberty that we once knew- I think it more likely that they will live in a state more resembling Stalin's Russia.