Lansing, MI — In America, we have the Bill of Rights. Some people see our exercise of these rights as a waste of tax payer dollars. Well, many in Occupy Lansing are also taxpayers, and our response in one word is “SHAME!” Shame on anyone criticizing the expression of this right in any shape or form as “too costly.”
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. “
Freedom isn’t free. People have fought and died for these rights since before this country was born. People are now today, finally, choosing to exercise this right in a very real and tangible way, often at the risk of their own life and limb. It is the peak of irony that we are again somehow vilified for our actions in the face of corporate greed and political incompetence that is literally killing people as we speak.
At Reutter Park there was a General Assembly at the camp every day. Freedom of assembly? Even if you disagree with the reason Occupy Lansing was protesting in the camp, people were exercising their right to free speech and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Who can recollect a much better expression of these rights? In fact the entire camp experience was probably one the most living expressions of the 1st amendment we have seen in decades.
Our fundamental, constitutional rights are not a commodity to be bought or sold. But apparently access to what makes this country great has an official “budget.” So lets talk about the “budget” and all the things we see as too expensive to tolerate now. Our schools are too expensive to fund, our poor too expensive to help, and now our VERY RIGHTS are too expensive to permit? If upholding fundamental civil rights is not a priority for a city, then what foundation does a city and this country rest upon? The cost of freedom is that all voices must be heard or no one has a voice. This is our right and we make no apologies.
“Somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for rights. And so just as I said, we aren’t going to let dogs or water hoses turn us around. We aren’t going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on.” –Martin Luther King Jr.
We are the 99%.