They vowed to stay in the camps until a Veteran's Bill—which would allow them to be paid their money immediately—was passed.
In a democracy, persons may present opposing views through public protest. Those in power are engaged through protest—even as they cower behind the curtain of the oval office.
In May of 1932, following the end of WWI, thousands of unemployed and homeless veterans camped out in Washington, DC. The largest "tent city" was in Anacostia Flats, nearby the Capitol building. Their goals were to shame the government into properly compensating their service in the war and demonstrate how a transformed social and economic system could work.
They vowed to stay in the camps until a Veteran's Bill—which would allow them to be paid their money immediately—was passed. On June 15, the House of Representatives passed the Veteran's Bill, but it was blocked two days later in the Senate. The White House and Senate leadership callously wrongly branded the veterans as communists and the orderly protest became a target for police action. Violent police interdiction was answered with a violent response from the veterans. The protest ended badly when fellow soldiers were sent in to break up the camps. However, the protest did lay the ground work for future legislation supporting our veterans.
Public protests are part of a democracy because those in power need to listen to voices of opposition and disagreement. In an autocracy opposition voice is stifled.
From kicking journalists out of press rooms to denouncing criticism as “fake news”, it's no secret that President Trump isn’t a fan of free speech, opposing views and criticism of his presidency.
Now, he has taken a further step to destroy our democracy by proposing dangerous new rules that would severely limit the right to protest near the White House and on the National Mall. On Friday, November 16, 2018, the Senate held a confirmation hearing for Trump's pick for Director of National Park Service, Raymond David Vela—the official who would have the power to implement these rules.
Trump's proposed new rules ban protests from 80% of the White House sidewalk and enacts extreme new restrictions on signs, banners, and structures like speakers' platforms on the Mall and near the White House. It imposes new limitations on spontaneous demonstrations by creating long delays in granting demonstration permits and would charge people a fee in order to protest.
If fee requirements were in effect in the 1960’s, it could have blocked some of the most important protests in our country's history from ever happening, like the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. If the Women’s March in January of 2017 had been held at the mall, every man, woman and child would have been charged a fee to participate. Does that sound like America?
Putin’ class: “Becoming an Autocracy” taught Trump how to move a democracy to an autocracy.
I encourage fellow Americans to contact your Senators and demand that Vela pledges he will reject Trump’s proposal. RESIST—NOW MORE THAN EVER!