Washington Times Article
The preposterous federal appeals court
decision yesterday is, or should be, the last straw in the
decades-long trivialization of
constitutionally-protected free speech in this country. The
Interior Department should
immediately issue a new set of rules banning all but hand-held
signs in front of the White
House and prohibiting any kind of permanent or semipermanent
structures across the street in
Lafayette Park, whether erected by protesters or anybody else.
The government should also immediately prepare to appeal
yesterday's decision to the
Supreme Court. What that decision amounts to is legitimizing the
mugging of civllized America
by a scruffy minority intent
on assaulting the nation's sensibility with outrageous behavior
in the name (what desecration!)
of free speech.
The muggers, calling themselves the Community for Creative
Non-Violence, wanted to litter
Lafayfette Park with tents and live in them throughout the
winter. Not just your ordinary
squatting, mind you, but "political protest." They planned to
dub their tent city "Reaganville" in
order to publicize the "plight" of the "homeless"
All the National Park Service did was to tell this gang it
couldn't sack out all night in its tent city
because the Park Service has (imagine this!) rules against
camping in the parks of the nation's
This is the same gang that, beginning around Thanksgiving of
1981 and running into 1982, set
up another tent city to protest something or other, Yes, in
Lafayette Park, where the ladies and
gentlemen who inhabited the tents strewed the park with a
multitude of personal belongings,
made furniture out of crates, did laundry and hung wet blankets
and sleeping gear from the
trees, and used the one permanent lavatory in the park as a
shower and the rest of the park as
their private toilet.
And, you guessed it, the same court of appeals called that free
This time, the court held that sleep is a form of speech
protected by the First Amendment.
Sleeping! This insult to reason and common sense leaves no doublt
in our mind that certain
federal judges are in dire need of psychiatric counselling
followed by refresher course in
constitutional law and elementary logic.
Either that, or show us where it is written in the
Constitution that every form of behevior
constitutes speech. No matter how unsightly or disgusting. Where
in the Constitution does it
say 'round the clock demonstrations, or mock tombstones erected
in the park. or garrish "protest"
signs scribbled with gibberish and left to stand day and night
again at the White House fence on
Pennsyivania Avenue have anything whatsoever to do with freedom
The answer is, nowhere. As a matrer oi fact, the Supreme
Court itself held as far
hack as 1968(United States vs. O'Brien) that every form of
behavior doesn't constitute speech.
Serious political protesters as well as fulltime Vagrants and
others whose hold on reality is
perhaps less firm than yours and ours have every right to express
their views, through carrying
signs and leafletting. In appropriate places, such as on the
Ellipse in view of the White House,
for a limited number of hours.
Anything beyond this is tyrannizing the rest of us.
Demonstrators have no right to deprive
thousands of park visitors of a nationally significant sight.
Defacing the White House and
Lafayette Park is not the expression of free speech. It is a
dsmned crime. And we can only pray
that this administration and the Supreme Court have the guts to
call it that.