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Sometimes I wonder...

Of course I'm seeing this from a distance of 3000 miles and several countries.

But I just can't shake the feeling that the United States that I loved and lived in so many years ago, has become a very strange and grim place, indeed.

Because... where's your freedom when you're not even allowed to dance anymore...

http://www.wtop.com/?nid=41&sid=2401484

http://nation.foxnews.com/politics/2011/05/29/group-arrested-dc-dancing-us-monument

Maybe I'm just not seeing this right... but... I would have expected to see a report like that come out of *Russia*. But not from the US...

Sad times, indeed.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
sharona1x2
May. 30th, 2011 11:53 am (UTC)
I can see both sides. If I go to a public place like the Jefferson Memorial, I don't really want to watch a group of people dancing there, unless they have permission to put on a show. It's disruptive to the people who are visiting. In some ways, it could also be disrespectful (depending on the type of dancing). I'll bet the pick pockets love it, though. All those tourists distracted by the dancing...

I'm not saying that I think use of excessive force against the protestors is a good idea. I'll never be in favor of that. But I do think there are way more important things people should be trying to change in the US than a ban on dancing at national monuments.
ravensilver
May. 30th, 2011 02:34 pm (UTC)
I can see your argument, where it would be disrespectful. It's a monument, a place where one goes to reflect on its meaning and the reason why it was put there. So it might not be the appropriate place for dancing - even if it's slow and silent.

What shocked me, however, was the police's response. I don't see where the peaceful calm and serenity of the place is preserved by loudly and forcefully arresting people who *do* choose this place to protest a judicial ruling in a quiet and peaceful manner. Especially since they seemed to have been protesting an earlier ruling that said that "expressive dancing is the same as picketing and marching". I'm not sure where the these are things which should be prohibited. Are they not normal expressions of the people's opinion?

Maybe I'm seeing things too liberal, too democratic. I don't know.
sharona1x2
May. 30th, 2011 02:38 pm (UTC)
I do agree with you about the response being too aggressive. I'm not saying they should have done that. But I think this is the extreme, not the norm in the US. I don't see things like this on the news all the time. I like to think it's the exception, not the rule.
ravensilver
May. 30th, 2011 02:48 pm (UTC)
Of course seeing this in the press and on the net, it's always exaggerated. I'm not sure about this not being the norm. From what I gather in my readings on the web newssites and blogs, there does seem to be a greater occurrance of excessive force being used in incidences where it didn't need it. But maybe it's just what the press is presenting, because it sounds good on the news...
(Anonymous)
May. 30th, 2011 04:28 pm (UTC)
Random person dropping by, so excuse my audacity, but...

How is it that hate-filled ranting protesters at the funerals of our military personnel are protected free speech, but dancers at a public memorial site are not?

As long as Fred Phelps and his evil minions are allowed to cause pain to families & communities with their antics, I'm not seeing the justice in arresting people who choose to respectfully dance in a public location.
sharona1x2
May. 30th, 2011 08:26 pm (UTC)
It bites, doesn't it? I wish something could be done about that evil man. If there's an afterlife, maybe he'll be held accountable for all the people he's made suffer.

I saw something that might explain why one is legal and the other isn't. I'm not knowledgeable about law, so this is just something I found through Google. One situation (the dancing) potentially puts people at risk (the dancers could cause a stampede or something like that) and the other (Phelps), while disgusting, doesn't put people at risk. <-- I'm not sure that's the exact reasoning, but it could be something similar.

There's also the issue of one (the funerals) being on private property while the other is government property. Again, I'm guessing.

The protestors knew they were breaking a government ban. I'm sorry for what happened to them, but if they knew they were doing something they weren't supposed to, they likely knew they'd be arrested. Again, I don't agree that the amount of force used was justified at all. Maybe this will actually end up helping their case. Stranger things have happened.
merula31
May. 30th, 2011 12:36 pm (UTC)
Wow, when I first read your post I thought you meant not allowed to dance anywhere. I didn't realize it was at one of the national monuments. I am going with Sharon on this one- I can see both sides- and the force was excessive.

At the same time, I don't feel that this report turns my country into a strange and grim place. (Some would say it already *was*!) This is just one of those 'hey, don't be disrespectful' vs 'don't stomp on my rights' sort of things.
ravensilver
May. 30th, 2011 02:40 pm (UTC)
Ye Gods! That would have been truly horrible!

No, it seems that it was only meant to be applied to national monuments, or rather to this particular one.

I also see Sharon's side. Even though I, personally, wouldn't be disturbed by someone dancing silently next to me, I understand that others might be.

Yes, it's the force thing that disturbed me the most. It just seems to me that this kind of overreaction - whether in the large, or the small things - has become a normal way of life in the States. It didn't used to be. At least not as far as I can remember.

Maybe it's just seeing it from a viewpoint many times removed.
amarissia
May. 30th, 2011 02:16 pm (UTC)
Some of us here feel the same way...this U.S. is not the one I grew up with.

But I kind of get the ban on dancing...U.S. memorial buildings are meant to be solemn, enjoyed without some weirdo dancing right next to you.
ravensilver
May. 30th, 2011 02:44 pm (UTC)
You're right. It's not. It was one of the reasons why I chose not to let Cilli spend her High School exchange time in the States. Its politics and views have become strange to me. And often not understandable.

While I wouldn't mind the dancing - after all, everyone's free to express themselves as they like - I can understand where this would not be the place for it. I guess most people would be annoyed by it.

I think, though, that there would have to be other ways to stop something like that, instead of creating a big scene - which probably didn't exactly add to the atmosphere of calm and tranquility that the police was supposed to be protecting...

Strange times... strange times...
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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