Naïve Americans who think they live in a free society should watch the videos filmed by students at a John Kerry speech Sept. 17, Constitution Day, at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
At the conclusion of Kerry’s speech, Andrew Meyer, a 21-year-old journalism student, was selected by Sen. Kerry to ask a question. Meyer held up a copy of BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast’s book Armed Madhouse and asked if Kerry was aware that Palast’s investigations determined that Kerry had actually won the election. Why, Meyer asked, had Kerry conceded the election so quickly when there were so many obvious examples of vote fraud? Why, Meyer went on to ask, was Kerry refusing to consider Bush’s impeachment when Bush was about to initiate another act of military aggression, this time against Iran?
At this point the public’s protectors the police decided that Meyer had said too much. They grabbed Meyer and began dragging him off. Meyer said repeatedly "I have done nothing wrong," which under our laws he had not. He threatened no one and assaulted no one.
But the police decided that Meyer, an American citizen, had no right to free speech and no constitutional protection. They threw him to the floor and Tasered him right in front of Kerry and the large student audience, who captured on video the unquestionable act of police brutality. Meyer was carted off and jailed on a phony charge of "disrupting a public event."
The question we should all ask is why did a United States senator just stand there while Gestapo goons violated the constitutional rights of a student participating in a public event, brutalized him in full view of everyone, and then took him off to jail on phony charges?
Kerry’s meekness not only in the face of electoral fraud, not only in the face of Bush’s wars that are crimes under the Nuremberg standard, but also in the face of police goons trampling the constitutional rights of American citizens makes it completely clear that he was not fit to be president, and he is not fit to be a U.S. senator.
Usually when police violate constitutional rights and commit acts of police brutality they do it when they believe no one is watching, not in front of a large audience. Clearly, the police have become more audacious in their abuse of rights and citizens. What explains the new fearlessness of police to violate rights and brutalize citizens without cause?
The answer is that police, most of whom have authoritarian personalities, have seen that constitutional rights are no longer protected. President Bush does not protect our constitutional rights. Neither does Vice President Cheney, nor the attorney general, nor the U.S. Congress. Just as Kerry allowed Meyer’s rights to be Tasered out of him, Congress has enabled Bush to strip people, including American citizens, of constitutional protection and incarcerate them without presenting evidence.
How long before Kerry himself or some other senator will be dragged from his podium and Tasered?
The Bush Republicans with complicit Democrats have essentially brought government accountability to an end in the U.S. The U.S. government has 80,000 people, including ordinary American citizens, on its "no-fly list." No one knows why they are on the list, and no one on the list can find out how to get off it. An unaccountable act by the Bush administration put them there.
Airport security harasses and abuses people who do not fit any known definition of terrorist. Nalini Ghuman, a British-born citizen and music professor at Mills College in California, was met on her return from a trip to England by armed guards at the airplane door and escorted away. A Gestapo goon squad tore up her U.S. visa, defaced her British passport, body-searched her, and told her she could leave immediately for England or be sent to a detention center.
Professor Ghuman, an Oxford University graduate with a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, says she feels like the character in Kafka’s book The Trial. "I don’t know why it’s happened, what I’m accused of. There’s no opportunity to defend myself. One is just completely powerless." Over one year later there is still no answer.
The Bush Republicans and their Democratic toadies have, in the name of "security," made all of us powerless. While Sen. John Kerry and his Democratic colleagues stand silently, the Bush administration has stolen our country from us and turned us into subjects.