President Trump's Interior Department has floated a new proposal that would ban or severely restrict protests and demonstrations on the National Mall and in front of the White House in Washington, DC, spaces where some of the most important demonstrations in American history have taken place.
The proposal, introduced by the National Park Service in August, is an absolute reflection of Trump's disdain for public protests and demonstrations unless, of course, they are filled with wide-eyed Trump supporters wearing red MAGA hats.
So because he doesn't like hearing and seeing the fervent protests of demonstrators who disagree with his policies, he's apparently told the National Park Service, which manages this public land -- the American peoples' lawn -- to severely restrict or ban these demonstrations from even taking place.
The plan would restrict protesters from gathering along the north sidewalk of the White House, where demonstrations often are held, directly in front of the North Lawn near Lafayette Park. People have been lining up in that area for over 50 consecutive nights of protests, with such celebrity speakers as Rosie O’Donnell, Kathy Griffin and famed defense lawyer Michael Avenatti.
The proposal also would stop protests at locations such as the National Mall where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech. Demonstrators would be blocked from protesting on certain portions of Pennsylvania Avenue, including outside the Trump International Hotel.
The plan also would make it easier for police and security to shut down demonstrations.
Here's how the National Park Service justifies its proposal:
“Citizens from the United States and around the world come to these areas to participate in American democracy, celebrate freedom, and experience our nation’s history and culture.The [National Park Service] intends these changes to provide greater clarity to the public about how and where demonstrations and special events may be conducted in a manner that protects and preserves the cultural and historic integrity of these areas.”
Indeed. Citizens from the United States and around the world DO come to these areas to participate in American democracy and celebrate freedom.
Now, because President Trump disagrees with the way such expressions are going these days, because they do not support his policies and pay fealty to His Highness, he wants to shut them down with an iron fist.
It's an attack on free speech. It's an attack on the rights of American citizens to gather and express themselves regarding important developments that affect us all.
Working on Capitol Hill I witnessed protests against the Vietnam War, demonstrations against President Nixon spawned by Watergate, women's rights demonstrations, right-to-life protests, and many others.
It is our right as American citizens. It is our place. Trump does not have a right to shut it down simply because he does not like to be reminded that millions of Americans are disgusted by his policies and his actions.
It's another great reason to Vote Blue on November 6.