and the home of the brave.
-- "The Star-Spangled Banner," by Francis Scott Key
The U.S. government currently has a new proposed rule under consideration that would, at last, expand the ability of the public to attend presidential inaugural parades, including the ability of those who attend for purposes of protest. I consider this an immensely patriotic and important rule to support, and I would urge fellow U.S. citizens to go promptly to Regulations.gov to comment on this rule, as the comment period will end September 22, 2008.
My own submitted comment follows:
"The government of communist China recently claimed it would permit protesters, etc., during the Beijing Olympics, but only in specified areas far from the venues, and only with permits, which they then proceeded to deny. This type of behavior is to be expected from a communist country, which has much to fear from its people being permitted free speech that might criticize them. It is undignified and unworthy of a free and democratic republic whose constitution and its amendments were written with the express intention of protecting its citizens' rights to critique their leadership.
"Yet this restriction and distancing have been typical of certain parties' political onventions and then of their approach to inaugural-festivities access. It is vital that he public have access to inaugural events even when -- perhaps especially when -- they choose to use that access for non-violent expressions of political views that may differ from that of the president-elect and supporters. While a new president's friends and supporters from the American citizenry should have a right to attend as well, the fact is that it will always be easy for such people to have a president's ear, even if they were unable to attend the inaugural event; opponents, on the other hand, may never receive a better venue for airing their grievances, and to allow them to do so is one of the most American actions my government can take. It is historic, it is honest, it is necessary, and it is unquestionably an appropriate and patriotic display to go with a new president's swearing to 'uphold and defend' the Constitution that protects this very right."