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05 July 2008

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Leila Abu-Saba

all right, if you say to have some hope, I shall. Thank you, and Happy Independence Day (1 day late)

JohnH

Bush has his right to free speech...and the people have the right to theirs.

I am often disgusted at event organizers to demand that an audience "let us hear" the opinions--often with no Q&A afterwards--of a powerful person who already has all the media attention he wants. It is sad that the protesters were escorted away, so that Bush could enjoy his privilege of free speech while the protesters were denied one of their few oppotunities to confront a terribly misguided and powerful person.

otiwa ogede

yes, and the sky hasn't crushed our heads either. oh, how far we have fallen.

Bartolo

You are not the first to decry the protests at Monticello. However, since this individual rarely meets the general public, I say go for it. Those new citizens got a rare shot of democracy yesterday.

J

Colonel,

i was reading the other day where our u.s. dollar has 'declined' 41% under the bush admin..

jonst

I think Jefferson would have gotten a kick out of the protests. I found them exhilarating. I want the SOB to hear the words "war criminal". Even more, I want the Americans who saw it on TV to hear the words. Though I doubt many will agree. We need to be poked out of our stupor.

alnval

Col. Lang:

Thank you for reporting that no arrests were made. Nevertheless, that you would be sensitive to that datum and comment about it in the context of Adams presidency gives pause.

I hope you're right. But it is symptomatic of the tension we all feel that seven months remain before the next president takes office. That those seven months will prove to be as uneventful as the 'no arrests in Albemarle County' remains worthy of a few earnest prayers.

Mike Martin, Yorktown, VA

Protesters would have done well, on this day and this occasion, to limit themselves to a more dignified display. I would rather have seen our retiring Senator John Warner officiate.
That said, let's give thanks that the current president (I will not use his name) does not choose to visit landmarks such as Monticello, Gettysburg and Mount Vernon because of the commotion that travels with him.
I read that his visit to Dubai a few months ago cost their economy $120 million dollars due to security measures.

Andy

Col. Lang,

As you know I live in San Antonio (home to the Alamo for those who don't know) and have for about three years now. For almost all my life I have never liked Texas or Texans (I won't belabor the reasons here), but having lived here my mind is now changed and I consider them and the state no worse than any other. I do have to say that Texans are probably the most courteous drivers I've encountered anywhere.

I would agree the Alamo is not all that impressive, but to me that is unsurprising considering the history of the region. Most of the west was sparsely settled by Europeans and architecture therefore was utilitarian by necessity. It doesn't help that it's in the middle of the seventh-largest US city, surrounded by large modern buildings, and therefore completely detached from its historic landscape. Put the main house at Monticello in the middle of a major city surrounded by loud and busy streets and it would be remarkably diminished.

GSD

In a related story a German protester attacked a wax statue of Adolph Hitler and removed the head from the body.

-GSD

J

Colonel,

what would have been a good tribute to our nation's 4th, would have been u.s. marshals arresting bush at montecello and carting him off to a booking desk then to a jail cell. bush's crimes against our Constitution is no laughing matter, and it is sad that Congress would willingly emasculate their impeachment power, thus leaving our republic to the evil clutches of a unitary executive.

Uncle $cam

Shouldn't that had read, "there were no arrests,... this time" ? In any event, carry on..

Cujo359

What happened? Couldn't they map out a "free speech zone" at Monticello?

I suppose I'm of two minds on this protest. On the one hand, there is, as others have observed, remarkably little chance to break through the bubble that surrounds President Bush. Any break from that isolation, as long as it doesn't involve arrest or bodily harm, seems like a good thing.

On the other hand, it's also a special place. I think I'd feel as though protest were out of place there. Of course, my guess is that one of the last people to agree with me would be Thomas Jefferson.

rjj

For almost all my life I have never liked Texas or Texans ...but having lived [in San Antonio] my mind is now changed and I consider them and the state no worse than any other.

Texans are like Mongols -- or elephants: their magnificence is not apparent till you see them in their natural habitat.

Patrick Lang

All

I agree that Jefferson would have been enormously amused and gratified at the sight of this. pl

cletracsteve

From someone 6 hours away from D.C., I would say - why not add Williamsburg, Manassas, Philly Independence Square, Antietam, Harpers Ferry ....... as 'must dos', almost equally close. Well, there is a reason. Terists go there. For those whom even one's mother language is a second language, 'terrorist' and 'tourist' sound a like and cannot be distinguished. Try our airports. Hell, just try to get into Mamouth Cave.

cynic librarian

I find it interesting that you have to -- with bated breath -- even consider the possibility that the protesters would not be freed. Why even the shadow of a doubt, in the land of "freedom of speech," as Bush crowed when they hauled the people away.

I know we shouldn't take such things -- like a gift -- for granted, but these are not gifts but rights; and a right is something we should only think twice about when it is being threatened.

I know you often talk against the background of much subtext, Colonel, so perhaps this is your subtle way of reminding us that under this presidency these rights are not so secure nor to be taken so much for granted.

Spider Rider

Cynic, I understand your point, but I thought it interesting, within context, as Col Lang pointed out, John Adams jailed editors, and wanted to be referred to as "your excellency."

Power does strange things, I suppose, there seems to be precedent for imperialistic behavior in the American presidency, a study would be fascinating.

I wonder if someone has written that book, yet?

Bush and Cheney are nothing new under the sun.

Cold War Zoomie

You touch on something I've been thinking about for years and years.

How do we balance progress towards an ideal state of equality and freedoms while remaining grateful for how good we've got it when compared to most countries on the planet?

I've lived in a highly corrupt, third world country where political campaigns can include kidnappings and killings. Where the people are kept uneducated and ignorant to ensure they remain oppressed. Where military leaders are businessmen first, politicians second, and soldiers last. Where military juntas turn their force against peasants.

It ain't pretty. And apart from Western Europe, Canada, the USA, and a smattering of other countries around the globe, it's par for course.

Our Bill of Rights is a gift to us from those who fought for it. We should take the opportunity to use that gift as much as possible - it would be rude not to!

But our gratitude should govern when and where we exercise our rights, as well. The ceremony at mount Vernon was for our new citizens, not Bush nor the protesters. We should honor their special day by shutting up for awhile.

For thus of us who have been here for generations, our cynical eye sees an opportunist, liar and propagandist visiting Monticello. As the Post article highlights, I also believe our new citizens see something very, very different.

Mike Martin, Yorktown, VA

CWZ, you said it perfectly. There's a time and a place for everything. I suspect that the occasion of
gaining US citizenship is, for these folks, exceeded in importance to their lives only by marriage and the birth of a child. It should have been a solemn and uninterrupted ceremony.

Jefferson's reaction? My guess he would not have appreciated this display at his home, but he would have loved it and quite possibly joined in had it occurred in a public setting.

Stephen Calhoun

Ed Brayton reported the following about Bush at Monticello:

Bush quoted Jefferson:

"May it be to the world, what I believe it will be -- to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all -- the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government."

but edited out the following from the original:

the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government.

http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2008/07/bush_edits_out_jeffersons_reli.php

Kevin

Col Lang,
The Alamo is a Texas thing you just would not understand. I will a part of two change of command ceremonies in the upcomming months: one for my battalion commander(he is also running for US Senate, BTW), and one for my brigade commander- both will be in front of the Alamo.

"You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.”
-Davy Crockett

This is our crest
http://www.texasmilitaryforcesmuseum.org/1940/images/71brigade/141/crest.gif

MW Furr

I have to say that given the solemnity that should have been a part of the occasion, that either Bush, or Monticello should have thought twice about having such a divisive speaker. Not that I disagree with protesting this administration, but it seems so sad that the new citizens had their parade rained upon. But then again, it did give them the rare opportunity to see what our country should truly be about--peaceful protests. Jefferson would have agreed--the current administration flies in the face of the idea of a responsible and just government.

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