My reactions to this story surprised me, so I thought I would present it here for discussion.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I have signed every â€˜Impeach Bush' petition put before me. If I owned them, I would gladly wear an â€˜Impeach Bush' tee shirt everywhere I go. My car sports a number of anti-Bush stickers. If I could get up there, I would paint â€˜Impeach Bush' on my roof.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â So, it surprised me when I was not immediately moved to defend the ticketed man in this article: KentÂ officer tickets man for â€˜Impeach Bush' sign. I am (obviously, after the second paragraph) a strong supporter of the first amendment, and I continue to exercise this right even as it is being whited-out of existence.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â However, I was offended by the author's attempt to sway me (even to my own side) by the use of "soft-spoken teacher" in his first-line introduction to the ticketed man. Laws should apply the same to soft-spoken teachers and raging bartenders, so I don't need to read his profession or emotional status before I see the rest of the story. I have nothing against soft-spoken people or teachers in general, but this started me out on edge and on the wrong side of my natural position.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I also learned in that first line that this soft-spoken teacher had placed is sign in a public garden, twisting what I would have thought would be my knee-jerk reaction to this story yet again. That made his display unlike my tee shirt, my car, and my roof, and more like the ten commandments in the courthouse or classroom. Ouch. At this point, I was close to disliking ticketed guy for testing me.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Fortunately, I continued to read. Ticketed guy won back my heart when I read that he and his friends think Bush's Iraq invasion is illegal and immoral, and have placed hundreds of anti-war signs around several states. I forgot about the author's attempt to influence me and thought about looking up ticketed guy to see if he needed my help at that point. But the public property thing still bothered me.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â A cop added the final twist. When ticketed guy asked how his placing the â€˜Impeach Bush' sign differed from the real estate signs that others placed on private property, the cop's response was, "You don't know the difference?" Ticketed guy's attorney said the difference is that one is commercial and the other political and political messages don't have the same protections.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Ticketed guy can remain soft-spoken if he wants; this makes me want to scream. Public property and private messages are - well, public property and private messages - so this makes no logical sense to me.
The article goes on to say that the same community sometimes allows leeway to politicians who place signs on public property during campaigns. To me, this means individual cops get to decide which political messages they allow and which they don't. And that seems all wrong to me.
I am interested in reading your comments. Should any private signs be allowed on public property? And can anyone present justification for allowing some and not all?