Images of Free Speech in America


For many Americans (albeit, perhaps only over a certain age) mention of public town halls brings to mind the painting titled “Freedom of Speech” by  Norman Rockwell:

In 2013, in Obama’s “fundamentally transformed” America, we’re rapidly approaching the point at which more people may think of this image, captured from a video of a Maryland town hall meeting concerning the imposition of national Common Core standards on public schools (with many private schools following suit):

The background (as the video and coverage suggest) is that an informational forum was proceeding with canned soft-ball questions in a dog-and-pony show of insiders, and at least one parent stood to express more targeted concerns.  He was literally dragged and pushed out of the event.

If the American media were doing its job, this image would be on the cover of every newspaper and “news magazine” in the country.  “Don’t tase me bro” was pushed into the national lexicon in 2007 when a college student moved a town hall with Democrat John Kerry to the topic of George Bush’s secret college society and was dragged out and tasered.  (I thought I’d commented on that at the time, but I can’t find it.)

Now we’re looking at a middle aged parent and a town hall on the federal government’s reach into local school districts.

Remember that old cliché about “I did not speak up because I was not a…”?  Might be time to start applying its lesson.

(Via Stanley Kurtz)

  • singlestack

    For those who don't understand, it's called a police state.

  • Don

    By now it should be very clear who is running America's public schools, and why students are failing in ever increasing numbers. Education is Out, Indoctrination is In. Mmm mmm mmm.

  • Harwood

    Just one of the fundamental transformations Obama pledged to bring about.

    • OBloodyhell

      Can I have my Change back, please?

  • orson2

    The worry and shame goes deeper than that: the complete violation of the separation of Church and state under Obamacare, and the lack of outrage and rebellion over it, immediately comes to mind.

    We have become a nation of sheep, good for only the slaughter.

    • OBloodyhell

      No, there are at least 80 million non-sheep. But to them, the sh** hasn't really hit the fan just yet. But it's approaching the fan asymptotically.

  • This is a frightening juxtaposition.

    Tell Superintendent Dallas Dance what you think of screening the questions and changing their wording at

  • Mkelley

    I wouldn't say bad things about Commie Core, unless you want to be investigated by the IRS, ATF, OSHA, and a few other faceless, fat bureaucracies.

  • inspectorudy

    This my friends is liberalism at it worst. They believe that they know best and that taking away a little freedom from one heckler or protester is ok because in the big picture they are right. They will put us in prison camps if necessary and call them re-education schools. One thing we can all count on is that the Constitution is nothing but a tool to get their way. When their way is threatened with the Constitution they discard it.

  • tmlutas

    This parent should run for school board with a full slate on the platform of "I won't have you arrested if you want to speak out at a meeting". This school board is a disgrace.

  • Democracy_MD

    How many of us have been that man standing in the meeting, gaining the floor to speak alone in dissent? How many of us have been the guy getting dragged out without cause because we dared to challenge the authorities that are railroading policy and threatening to brainwash our children?

    When do we stand?

    • OBloodyhell

      When do we stand?
      "Real Soon!"


      Lord John Whorfin: Where are we going?
      The Red Lectroids: Planet Ten!
      Lord John Whorfin: When?
      The Red Lectroids: Real soon!

  • lucky_yooper

    Whoever shot that picture is lucky, didn’t get caught and thrown out too. Anyway, nice juxtaposition, I marvel that we don’t hear more cases of spontaneous head-explosion from cognitive dissonance as we tighten up on dissenters in the name of freedom.

  • R.B. Phillips

    How many of us have been one the guys who came to the man's aid and in the process ran the "Security" weenie right out of the building

  • ClydeS

    You have the right to free speech
    As long as
    You're not dumb enough to actually try it!
    Know your rights!
    These are your rights!

    And it has been suggest in some quarters
    That this is not enough.
    Get off the streeeeets!

    "Know Your Rights," The Clash, 1982

  • JohnStark

    This is what you would expect in Maryland. If you live in Maryland and don't like it, then leave. The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

  • teapartydoc

    Be prepared to get out while you can.

  • Thucydides

    Everyone should:

    a. Thank Glen Reynolds for the Instalanch, and;

    b. Repost this everywhere you can, even in Lefty blogs and websites.

    Especially Lefty blogs and websites, since the continuing pressure of cognitive_dissonance will unhinge them and they will further expose who and what they really are in response.

  • How could this happen in America? Smug, candy-assed fascists have this man physically forced out of a public meeting for raising uncomfortable questions?

    Honestly this part of the video isn't what scares me. It's that only one person there defended this man. Have we become so conditioned to obey our betters in government that we would take this outrage sitting down?

    That this happened in one our original thirteen colonies makes this all the more disturbing.

  • Diggs

    And now you know exactly why Democrats want your guns. It has nothing to do with protecting the children, and everything to do with protecting the Democrats who control the schools, the media, the bureaucracy, and now they will control your health care.

  • Warrington Faust

    I have no doubt that the "informational meeting" was a sham. That is the game, have meetings and "take public comments" until you wear them out. It is the same thing as when bureaucracies have "continuing internal investigations" until the problem goes away, or is forgotten about.

    Unfortunately, the rules were "written questions, submitted in advance". Within the rules, the "parent" was "out of order" and creating a disturbance. There are lots of public meetings where standing up and "exercising free speech" would get you ejected.

    The truly unfortunate matter here is that the "media" will not take up his cause. That is why we have a "free press".

  • innocent passer-by

    I can't believe y'all think this is Obama's doing. Erosion of free speech has been going on a lot longer that 5 years.

    But any excuse to blame the dems, the right are on it like a rotweiller, huh?