The 2005 Muzzle Awards

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It's time for the 2005 "Muzzle" Awards, and the dishonors are legion.

Amid the usual contretemps over school dress codes, graduation speeches, and censorious idiocy at the FCC, perhaps the most bothersome episodes are those that prompted the dual award to the Democratic and Republican National Parties for their shameful behavior during the conventions last summer. The idea that peaceful protestors should be kept out of sight in so-called "free-speech zones" is repugnant at best and flagrantly unconstitutional at worst.

By my reading of the First Amendment, a free speech zone encompasses the entire area between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the parallel, and the Rio Grande. No exceptions are mentioned, especially not anything of this sort:

"Measuring approximately 300 feet by 90 feet, the "free speech" zone was located on a former construction site under abandoned railway tracks, surrounded by two rows of barriers topped with eight-foot chainlink fencing and looped razor wire, completely covered with a mesh netting, and guarded by armed law enforcement officers."

In the Muzzle award, there was a one-sentence mention of the GOP's penchant for denying citizens admission to political rallies "unless they signed statements affirming their support of the Bush-Cheney ticket." Their practice of muzzling dissent, unfortunately, continues unabated.

On the state level, there were two notable Muzzle awards:

In late 2004, Alabama State Representative Gerald Allen proposed legislation that would prohibit the use of public funds 'for the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.'
In what may well be the most extreme assault to date on Darwin, Georgia State Representative Ben Bridges introduced at the start of the current session a bill that would permit public schools across the state to teach only 'scientific fact' - a measure specifically designed to discredit Darwinian hypotheses since they were only 'theory.' A Democratic colleague quipped in response, 'You mean, like the theory of gravity?'

As much as I prefer rational discourse, sarcasm may be a perfectly acceptable response to such idiocy.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on April 13, 2005 12:59 PM.

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