Writer Condemns Citizens' Right to Protest Harmful Government Policies and Practices.

He's kidding, right?

Pete Writer condemns citizens' right to protest harmful government policies and practices ("Democrats' sit-in was shameful," 6-25-16, http://herald-zeitung.com/opinion/article_7c8bfa44-3b31-11e6-9d16-03c1321b7cc5.html ).

This right is as American as apple pie. Will he also condemn singing the Star Spangled Banner and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance?

Our Constitution clearly gives us the right to peaceful protest with no punishment. "The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits ...abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances (Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution, accessed 6-29-16).

Yet we saw this right and others slip from their former revered status when George W. Bush began placing protesters out of sight and out of hearing when he spoke in public. I remember one bold media camera operator traveled several blocks from the motorcade route to photograph protesters roped-off from the President's presence (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/05/27/supreme-court-bush-protest-speech/9172707/).

So, how do protesters get their complaints heard? Too often they do not!

The Patriot Act was signed 10/26/01. For the first time legislation took away precious rights. These are a few of its provisions Wikipedia lists: law enforcement officers could now search homes and businesses "without the owner's or occupant's consent or knowledge;" the FBI could now "search telephone, e-mail, and financial records without a court order;" and the FBI and law enforcement agencies could now "search business records, including library and financial records." It also states, "several legal challenges have been brought against the act, and federal courts have ruled that a number of provisions are unconstitutional" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_Act , accessed 6-29-16).

Protests are an American institution, starting with the Boston Tea Party when U.S. citizens masqueraded as tribal people and threw a ship's cargo of tea overboard to protest Britain's unfair tea tax. Citizens rallied and fought harder for independence. Protests have continued through the years. In 1965 Civil Rights protesters marched in Selma, Alabama. They were brutalized by 150 armed police officers. Fifty were hospitalized. This is one of many times public officials harmed peaceful protesters. Again, citizens rallied and the 1965 Voting Act was passed (http://www.blackpast.org/aah/bloody-sunday-selma-alabama-march-7-1965 ).

When protesters held an Occupy Movement demonstration on the U.C.Davis campus in 2011, two campus police officers pepper-sprayed directly into protesters' eyes. One of the officers was later awarded $38,000 for "his pain and suffering" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UC_Davis_pepper-spray_incident ). HIS? And American citizens' rights dropped another notch.

John Dunbar reports that the 2011 Supreme Court Citizen's United Ruling gave permission "for corporations and labor unions to spend as much as they want to convince people to vote for or against a candidate" ( "The 'Citizens United' decision and why it matters," 10/18/12, https://www.publicintegrity.org/2012/10/18/11527/citizens-united-decision-and-why-it-matters). This ruling allowed global corporations and the extremely rich to buy elected officials, lessening voters' power to influence "their" representatives.

So we arrive at the present time when concerned members of Congress participated in a sit-in to try to force a vote on gun control to protect American citizens. Numerous polls attest to the fact that the great majority of Americans want gun control laws and enforcement. The writer suggests this action "stopped action in the House." Yeah? I understand there has been very little positive action there since Barack Obama took office and Mitch McConnell vowed publicly that Republicans would pass no substantial legislation while he was president (

Excuse me! Congressional representatives have been taking more and more taxpayer money--voting themselves huge automatic pay raises, generous health care, and retirements and voting "their owners" tax breaks and loopholes--while following through on their promises to do nothing. They certainly are not doing the job of governing they were elected to do. What kind of service are they providing citizens? ZERO!

Recent obstructionist Congresses have done nothing positive. This is why it is necessary for voters and caring public officials to demonstrate...to bring desperate needs to all citizens' attention so we can vote the slackers out of office!

And today in the Herald-Zeitung a man called a courageous demonstration "shameful." It is he who should be ashamed for belittling one of our nation's revered rights!

The writer compared this one-day sit-in which called attention to the many times the majority Speaker of the House has refused to allow discussion or voting on bills proposed by minority members to the 10 times in history that elected officials of both parties have "shut down our government," costing billions of dollars each time. Apples and oranges.

Government officials must negotiate and compromise with each other to better serve ALL of the public. Both the ignorant signers of a promise to an individual Republican member to never raise taxes and the current promise by Republican leaders to conduct no vital business--essentially to keep our democracy from functioning properly --are a waste of our time and money.

Watch how your representatives and senators vote. Then act! Remove the bad ones from office. Replace them with caring leaders who want the best for ALL of The People. That's the only way our democratic republic will work for everyone.