Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

Home · Articles · News · Features · Cracks in the Stronghold: Up to...
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Cracks in the Stronghold: Up to 1, 500 Turn out for Biggest Protest Ever

Eartha Melzer - August 26th, 2004
“How many people do you have to kill before you no longer qualify as pro-life?” read a homemade sign carried by one young man.
“Stop depleting my dating pool,” read another carried by a young woman who wanted to draw attention to the U.S. military’s death toll in Iraq -- now approaching 950.
Traverse City has always been known as a Republican stronghold, but last Monday -- in what local historian Larry Wakefield termed the largest demonstration in the city’s history -- over 1,000 people gathered to protest a campaign appearance by George W. Bush.
Captain Morgan of the Traverse City Police Department estimated the crowd of demonstrators at between 1,000 and 1,500.
For hours before Bush was scheduled to speak, those with tickets to the rally (organizers say 14,000 tickets were handed out) filed into the Civic Center along a sidewalk flanked by a crowd carrying signs and energetically speaking out about the war, job loss, environmental degradation, reproductive freedom and other civil rights issues.
Front Street was closed between Fair and Garfield Streets and the Huntington Bank at Campus Plaza across the way was ordered closed by Secret Service – there were three bank robberies during a recent stop in Iowa.

EAR PLUGS
The atmosphere was festive. A giant puppet, a woman in a Chicken Little costume, and mock Secret Service agents on stilts circulated through the mass of demonstrators which included babies, grandparents, and people in wheelchairs. A woman with a French horn played ‘Send in the Clowns’ and ‘Hail to the Chief’ (during which demonstrators chanted ‘Hail to the Thief!’). There was drumming, accordian playing and a theater troupe that pulled a naked King George on a charriot and chanted, “The Emperor Wears no Clothes!”
One woman on her way to see the President plugged her ears and talked loudly to herself to avoid listening to the demonstrators. Others engaged in debate. Several said that Bush’s anti-abortion stand is the single issue that will motivate them in the polls. Many acknowledged, with amused tolerance as they pressed through the crowd, that freedom of expression is a treasured and respected right.
How would the Bush campaign interpret free speech in Traverse City?
The Civic Center, a county-owned recreational complex, had been rented to the Republican National Committee for the day. At least one woman, local teacher Kathryn Mead, was denied access to the event, even though she had a ticket, when she refused to remove her sticker in support of John Kerry. Others were forced to remove political buttons.
Kate Stephan, chair of the Grand Traverse Republican Party, said the Bush campaign has the right to admit whom they choose.
In some towns along the campaign trail people attending the Bush event were required to sign oaths of support.

WHAT CAPACITY?
Earlier this summer the national ACLU sent a memo to groups planning protests. It asked people to note whether the President appeared in his official capacity as President or as a candidate for the presidency and whether Bush supporters are allowed closer to the President than other types of demonstrators. The ACLU is considering a nationwide class action suit against the Bush campaign for disrespecting First Amendment rights.
After people had been milling around for hours and the country band Trick Pony had finished its opening act, the Bush motorcade sped into the Civic Center through a crowd of hundreds.
As the motorcade whipped by, protester Holly Spaulding stepped forward in order to be more visible. Spaulding had been told by police that the “NO MORE BUSHIT” banner she was holding would have to be put down when Bush’s entourage arrived and she wanted to make sure that Bush was aware of the opposition massed around the Civic Center.
Spaulding, along with Terri DeFillipo was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for breaching the “sterile zone” set up by the Secret Service along the motorcade route.
And when their attorney, Mark Messing, attempted to speak with them, he too was arrested.

START TALKING
Once in custody, Spaulding said, she was questioned in an intimidating way by a man who had a wire in his ear, but no badge, and said he was with the Secret Service.
“He said, ‘If you talk to me, okay. If you don’t talk to me it will start an investigation. He asked me: Who did you come with? Are you part of a group? … How you feel about the President?”
Messing said police told him, “Relax, they are just going to take them, remove them from the site, and when this is over they will let them go.”
Messing is outraged that Spaulding and DeFillipo were detained in this manner, questioned without an attorney present, and that he was arrested for identifying himself to police and attempting to represent his clients.
“Clearly no one is paying attention to the Bill of Rights here,” said Messing of the arrest scenario, “…By arresting me they’ve compromised my clients’ abilities to have their attorney of choice. Messing said he intends to pursue this matter.
“Apparently, this president is not able to expose himself to anyone who doesn’t agree with him,” added Messing.
Many people photographed and video-taped the incident (there are video clips online at www.ventingmedia.com).

NO PROBLEMS
“I think it’s good that they were willing to put themselves out there,” said 14-year-old Emma Cook who participated in the demonstrations and witnessed the arrests. “(Bush) knew that we were out there and that we were willing to do a lot to get our message across…that’s why they drove so fast.”
Despite the arrests, representatives from the Traverse City Police, the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Department, the State Police and the Secret Service all said that the event turned out well -- no security problems, no one hurt, no garbage left behind.
“It was a great day for Traverse City,” said local attorney Blake Ringsmuth, who called Monday’s demonstration the most vibrant expression of First Amendment rights he’d ever seen in this town.
Ringsmuth said that in the past people with opposing views may have been hesitant to speak out because of the area’s identity as a Republican stronghold but the demonstrations were, “…Rejuvenating. Galvanizing… a huge day for Democrats and for those who don’t believe in the way this country is going.”


 
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