Monday, June 12, 2006

Respect and rights....

I am somewhat skeptical of this NY Times article on protests of the Iraq War near funerals of American soldiers:

1. It doesn't point out that Fred Phelps, whose group was protesting at funerals is a conservative.

2. It doesn't seem like the kind of thing anyone I know who's against the war would do.

3. The author's callous disregard for the legitimate first amendment rights of people.

That said, I think there are respectful ways for anti-war protestors to honor the dead, and not be silent. The author of the Times piece, Karen Spears Zacharias, seems to be saying "We want to mourn, but don't remind us of the origin of our mourning." People need to mourn in all kinds of ways, and that needs to be respected. I can imagine that the families of some soldiers would indeed demand that protests be carried out at a funeral; the idea that there's a blanket law against this is a first amendment challenge waiting to happen; after all what is a protest?

Isn't "Bearing Witness," the mindfulness practice of simply being present and aware and silent a protest, respectful though it may be?

In a situation where members of the government lack any accountability and responsiveness to people, how else can one exercise their rights to confront public servants who are - the public's servants?

It turns out that Ms. Spears Zacharias has a blog, and evidently accepts comments. I'd love to hear from her as far as details of specifics where anti-war protesters have actually done and said.

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