I hadn’t formed a full-fledged opinion on the Occupy[ ] protests yet, but when I learned that Tennessee Gov. Haslam ordered the Tennessee Highway Patrol to arrest the protesters—who were peaceably assembled and exercising their First Amendment right—I realized it didn’t matter what I thought. Because agree or disagree with the reason, they have the right to protest. But apparently our governor decided to squash that right—which should concern any resident of Tennessee, no matter what your political or economic stance is.
As usual, Aunt B. explains it better than I ever could:
I want to say that, when you live in a state where they make up “laws” on the fly AND wait until the middle of the night to arrest people for violating those made-up on the fly laws so that their actions remain hidden from citizens, when they wait until the middle of the night to arrest people AND they arrest journalists so that your ability to learn about what happened is curtailed, it’s sobering.
It’s also telling that after two nights of arrests, and two nights of the night court judge releasing those arrested because they were brought in under a newly created law that he deemed unconstitutional, last night there were no more arrests. So did someone finally bring Haslam a copy of the constitution? Did he realize that arresting people under the guise of “it’s for their own safety!” was bullshit and victim-blaming at its finest? Did the THP buck their orders and refuse to arrest people that weren’t breaking any actual law?
I’m interested in how this will play out. Our state has had its fair share of PR nightmares lately thanks to some small-minded racists. I wonder if we’ll make The Daily Show for our leader attempting to take away our First Amendment rights? I hope so. Because I think it’s going to take more than local dissent for Haslam to get what he’s doing is wrong.