A University of Florida student attended a speech given by John Kerry yesterday. He was the last one to ask a question. He started with a bit of a ramble about how John Kerry won Ohio in 2004, and should be president now. The question was why didn’t John Kerry dispute the election results in Ohio when there was some evidence of tampering? John Kerry has been asked this before. he’s dodged the question several times on TV and radio. This time, the police dragged the kid up the aisle and TAZERED him in front of 4 or 5 cameras.
He was arrested for inciting a riot. It was a riot of laughter as his classmates cheered on the police while he was yelling for help. It’s only after he was left twitching on the ground that anyone questioned what had just happened. How do we react when a small piece of our liberties is stripped away? Watch the two officers standing behind him as his comment and question wander into the “Impeach Bush” area. It’s not very hard to imagine them arriving at the decision to arrest him. The threshold of freedom is determined by the mood in the country. During World War II, Japanese Americans were rounded up because we feared the Japanese. In the Cold War, liberties were infringed upon because we feared the Communists. What do we fear now that this kid got electrocuted? I think we fear the questioning nature of dissent. Our first reaction should not be to jeer at the lone loon, laugh when they drag him off, and cry when they come for us.
I’m not watching out my window for the police, but the intimidation value of this event will silence some dissent in our country. We’ve silenced far too much dissent in the past few years, a little bit at a time.