Sign carrying has always been a part of peaceful protest and free speech in our country, and dissenting viewpoints have always been welcome - if not debated - in our democracy. Without protest or dissent, there might never be change. As The Impolitic says:
The way I see it, the purpose of civil dissent is to peacefully disrupt the status quo.
This law could reach beyond official political events too, as Hy Dudgeon at Michigan Liberal points out.
Remember Duncan DeBruin, the man who was ejected from Ford Field for holding up a "Fire Millen" sign at a Lions game?
DeBruin better not think of a repeat performance at Super Bowl XL, especially if President Bush decides to attend the game--like his father did the last time they played the Super Bowl in Michigan. He might wind up doing time in federal prison.
Dudgeon also points out that "there have been about 20 NSSEs since 1998. They included the 2000 and 2004 national party conventions, presidential inaugurations, the 2002 Winter Olympics, and Super Bowl XXXVII in New Orleans." And don’t forget about the three teachers in Medford, Oregon, who were thrown out of a Bush rally for wearing T-shirts reading "Protect Our Civil Liberties" because a Bush campaign worker deemed the shirts "obscene."
Sen. Feingold has already spoken out against this reauthorization act. He said he will do everything he can to stop it, including a filibuster, because the act does not include adequate safeguards to protect our constitutional freedoms. We all need to step up and help Feingold. As Hy Dudgeon points out:
Floor debate on the Patriot Act starts today. Please contact our senators and ask them to join Senator Feingold's effort to stop this legislation. Congress can't afford to hand any more power to the executive branch. Especially one headed by a president as arrogant as George W. Bush.