THE VIGIL IN LAFAYETTE PARK,
A Democracy Barometer, or Exercise of Criminal Lunacy?
Millions of tourists from around the world have visited
Washington, DC, seen the vigil, with signs decrying the insanity
of nuclear weapons, and returned to their homelands, impressed
that such public expression is allowed at the executive mansion. Lafayette Park has been an open forum for demonstrators for many decades. During the duration of the antinuclear vigil,(since 1981), four regulations have been written which threaten individual rights. From the vigilers perspective, this "chilling" of First Amendment Rights is the very situation that our country's fathers wanted to avoid. Pure Constitutionalists, such as Madison, and Jefferson would be appalled at the regulations which are codifed at 36 CFR, and would probably say, "These are ex-post-facto "laws" and, therefore, null and void; not "laws" at all." However, we still continue to abide by these "laws" as best we can, while being painted into a smaller corner by new regulations at the whim of the Park Service.
From the vigilers perspective, their "constitutionally
protected expression" has been transformed into "criminal activity," those who see the
vigil as a tribute to democracy are deluded. From the vigil's
point of view their Legal Cases prove that it is only their own
perseverance, rather than government protection, which accounts
for their continued presence.
Some U.S. citizens think the vigilers are lunatics, and berate
them for failing to appreciate that "nuclear weapons are what
protect the freedom and democracy that allows you to do this."
In the broader perspective, however, highly experienced military
experts have lately branded nuclear weapons "irrational."
Perhaps "sanity" is relative, perhaps the U.S. is suffering mass
delusion, or maybe the vigilers are just crazy.
From an earthling's perspective the sun may seem to "rise" in the
East and "set" in the West. From a broader perspective, however,
it appears that the earth revolves around the sun. At least 2500
years ago some advanced western thinkers had already apprehended
the broader perspective. Yet, under laws prevailing in Europe
only 500 years ago Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake simply
for thinking that the commonly held perception of a geocentric
universe was nothing more than mass delusion, and expressing his
thoughts to the general public.
Freedom of thought and expression are of nominal value without
Freedom of Assembly. Having witnessed the development and
expansion of Secret Service Park Closures, the vigilers have
been concerned as Lafayette Park began to appear more like Red
Square. As they watched the "legal principles" developed against
them used against others they have come to perceive their
experience as a yardstick for democracy.