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)

22 Responses to “Images of Free Speech in America”

  1. singlestack
    September 21, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

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

  2. Don
    September 21, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    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.

  3. Harwood
    September 21, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

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

    • OBloodyhell
      September 23, 2013 at 5:14 am #

      Can I have my Change back, please?

  4. orson2
    September 21, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

    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
      September 23, 2013 at 5:15 am #

      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.

  5. Nick Dorazio
    September 21, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    This is a frightening juxtaposition.

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

  6. Mkelley
    September 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    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.

  7. inspectorudy
    September 21, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

    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.

  8. tmlutas
    September 22, 2013 at 12:11 am #

    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.

  9. Democracy_MD
    September 22, 2013 at 12:59 am #

    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
      September 23, 2013 at 5:18 am #

      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!

  10. lucky_yooper
    September 22, 2013 at 5:53 am #

    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.

  11. R.B. Phillips
    September 22, 2013 at 7:13 am #

    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

  12. ClydeS
    September 22, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    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

  13. JohnStark
    September 22, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    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.

  14. teapartydoc
    September 22, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    Be prepared to get out while you can.

  15. Thucydides
    September 22, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    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.

  16. Randy Breitbart
    September 22, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    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.

  17. Diggs
    September 22, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    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.

  18. Warrington Faust
    September 22, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    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".

  19. innocent passer-by
    September 23, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    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?

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