Saturday, March 12, 2005

Playing the Strings of Democracy

Ahhh... anyone remember the good old days when Americans were allowed to question the Presidents policies? Decent was still considered to be one of our constitutional rights. When "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" actually meant we could tell the President what we, the people, were really thinking.

Yes, I sit here reminiscing on those long past days of the pinnacle of our Democracy. But, alas, those days our gone. Now, you have to sign a loyalty oath to get within 100 yards of the president. If you disagree with anything he says, you will be swiftly escorted from the eyesight of our benevolent exalted one. Whether it be opposition to the war in Iraq, or a dislike for privatizing Social Security, you are deemed unworthy of being in his presence.

This somehow reminds me of something... but I can't quite put my finger on it... Oh yes!... It is like all of those "un-democratic" monstrosities that the President rails against. You know, the ones where the government plans all the gatherings and rallies to show support for that government. China, Syria, Iran, North Korea are names that come to mind. No other western democracy even comes close to the PR orchestra that the Bush administration does.

Bush: Much 'Educating' to Do on Soc. Sec.

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

SHREVEPORT, La. - In state after state along President Bush (news - web sites)'s Social Security (news - web sites) road campaign, hand-picked audiences cheer him, leaving the impression that the nation wholeheartedly backs his ideas for reform. The reality is different.

While a majority of Americans approve of Bush's handling of terrorism and foreign policy, just 37 percent like his approach to Social Security, an Associated Press poll found.

"I've got a lot of educating to do to convince people not only that we have a problem, but we need to come together and come up with a solution to Social Security," Bush conceded at the end of a two-day swing through Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee and Louisiana.

Bush has hosted Social Security events in 14 states since his Feb. 2 State of the Union address.

At each one, the audience lends supportive applause when he talks about the federal retirement system's solvency problems and his desire to let younger workers set up private retirement accounts.

Only when dissenters manage to slip into the presidential events and voice their disapproval is there an inkling of what opinion polls clearly show: Not everyone is on board.

At a stop earlier in the day in Memphis, Tenn., a young woman shouted "No" as Bush marketed his ideas onstage. The woman, one of four people who interrupted Bush's remarks, was escorted out of the event. A man in the crowd later shook his head and muttered aloud: "There's no guarantee. There's no guarantee," apparently in disagreement with Bush's proposals.

(Full Stroy)


MaxedOutMama said...

I have read many stories about this sort of thing. I understood why they felt the need for security during the election rallies, but I don't approve of just pitching out protesters unless they are incredibly disruptive.

However I was startled to encounter this thread on DU today. According to this guy, no one shut him up or threw him out - the crowd just got angry with him so he chose to leave. I don't know what to think, honestly. I can see why the Secret Service would want to have some sort of control in the environment, but it totally goes against my grain to have dissenters thrown out. Maybe it is by degree.

As I say, I don't know.

Dingo said...

There is something wrong when you have rallies only for supporters of you policy. It used to be that a president would travel the country to talk to the opponents of his policies in order to build support. He would rely on his oratory skills to convince the masses his plan was the best. Bush just throws PR stunts. It is just wrong for a person who might not agree with the president to have to "pretend" he/she is a supporter in order just to see the president speak.

I read the DU link. I am not sure what to think about disruptive protestors. The supporters have just as much right to hear the president speak as the dissenters have to let the president know there minds. I think you would get more of a subdued protest though if people didn't have to "sneak in."

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

Dingo, I'm with MOM on this one. The Prez came to our area and there were plenty of dissenters (made the news, etc).

Nonetheless, security was incredibly tight- not unexpected in a post 9/11 world.

Dingo said...

Guys... you are raining on my parade here.

Maybe you are right and there have been dissenters allowed in that I haven't been hearing about. my question is, were they freely allowed in, or did they have to pretend to be supporters to get tickets?

MaxedOutMama said...

I'm completely baffled. I understood during the campaign why you had to pre-register. I was sort of surprised that Bush got through it without being shot regardless of all the security.

I bet he is wired so that the Secret Service guys can tell him when to duck plus wearing a bullet-proof vest at every one of these deals. Maybe too it has to do with the size of the crowd and the number of protesters.

I think the Secret Service guys probably don't want people standing up and milling around - it could provide cover for a shooter. It's awful to think this way, but post 9/11 I guess we have to.