On Tyranny in Gould, and in Springdale
Many people around the state are shaking their heads at the actions of the Gould City Council. The City Council, tired of a citizens group pestering them, voted to "disallow" the group to exist within the city of Gould. The Mayor's veto of that measure was over-ridden.
While those of us in the Northwest part of the state may look on such actions with disdain, I want you to know that it is not just the City Council in Gould which has an attenuated view of citizen rights. I spoke with Jan Lea, who is the 3rd District Organizer for Secure Arkansas, the other day. Secure Arkansas was circulating petitions for a ballot amendment which would bar illegal aliens from receiving certain public benefits. The right of her group to do this under the constitution of this state is undeniable....
The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good; and to petition, by address or remonstrance, the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.- page 4 of the state Constitution
She reported to me that city governments in NW Arkansas did everything they could to try and suppress the petition drive within their city. In Springdale especially, police would roll up and tell them the could not solicit petitions, even on private property. When they stood their ground, the police kept calling people and looking for "violations" to send them packing. Finally they left after the police told them that they could not have signs near the road, even if they were holding them. Of course, businesses commonly hire folks to hold signs like that, but the multitude of laws are selectively enforced on politically disfavored groups.
She reported other problems in other places in the area, but that was the worst. The others ran them off of public property. In light of the Constitution that's bad enough, but to hassle someone until they leave private property for which they have the owner's permission to be on smacks of tyranny.
What we increasingly find is that we have the "freedom" to operate within a rigged system, and that when we go outside it, our "freedom" does not mean much. Try getting a few signatures on a petition that the moneyed interests in a city oppose and you will find out just how tenuous your "freedom" is. Forget trying to "take back Washington" my friends. We have to take back our own homes first.