The Democratic Party should be ashamed of the Freedom Cage that blights this convention: the “Free Speech Zone,” a parking lot out of sight of everyone at the back of the enormous downtown security area, ringed with two sets of 10-foot tall steel barriers guarded by black-clad riot commandos armed with gas and guns. This is the location for anyone who wants to demonstrate at the convention.
This Orwellian creation, invented in Atlanta in 1988 and used with enthusiasm by the Bush administration, is a disgrace and should be abolished. It is not about freedom of speech but about silencing dissent: these cages weaken us by limiting discussion, and represent a failure by the civil authorities to do their job, which is to protect freedom, not to destroy it.
David and I bicycled to the Denver freedom cage, which is the only practical way to get there. We found it predictably deserted (see photo above). We chatted with the police, who were excellent individuals, and David sang God Bless America and the Star Spangled Banner for them, to applause. An MTV camera crew trundled up a few minutes after we arrived. They reported the story on their blog and recorded David. We’ll see if he is on TV. Pictures of the Justice Tower and Liberty Microphone are after the flip.
A sorry reminder of the limits to freedom in America. Where are the editorials excoriating this tragic creation in Denver, and why does the Democratic Party — which has made a lot of speeches here about the Land of the Free (“When you see the abuse of power, you have got to speak” – Joe Biden, acceptance video tonight) — tolerate them.
Public Viewing Speaking Timetable (note that this sheet is from the day before, and has not been replaced with a new one because no one is using the cage)