Of all the most famous founding fathers of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson was perhaps the one who best understood the meaning of freedom. The man himself was not perfect and indeed there are many who love to point out his flaws. One of the main points they make is that he spoke of freedom as he owned slaves. This is, in my opinion, a classic example of trying to invalidate the message by assassinating the character of the messenger. How can a man talk about such principles when he doesn't live by them? Mr. Jefferson was just a man, complete with all the faults and foibles that come with being a man, trying to make his way through life as best he could in the times he lived in. That does not make his message any less powerful, or any less valid. He was very much an individualist, and very much believed in limiting the power of government, respecting the god given rights and protecting the sovereignty of the individual.
He was so much respected that there is a monument built to him in the nation's capitol. I must wonder if Thomas Jefferson would have approved of such a monument being built, but nonetheless it is there. Personally, I would consider it a tribute to the ideas of freedom he proffered rather than a tribute to the man himself. I think it should exonerate the ideas of individual liberty and personal freedom rather than the man who put those ideas on paper. He was a product of the times he lived in, someone who rose to the occasion when he was called to do so, as so often seems to happen in history.
And so it was that Brooke Oberwetter, evidently a great fan of the third president, decided in 2008 that she would like to celebrate the ideas of freedom by silently dancing at the Jefferson Memorial for ten minutes at midnight on his birthday. She, and about twenty of her friends, wore ipods, by all accounts other than the police's remained quiet and respectful, and expressed their joy that this man had lived and had eloquently opined his views on freedom by dancing around his statue. For this act, and for asking the arresting officer what law she had broken, she was arrested. Thus began her ordeal and a quest to find freedom and justice in a nation where such words hold no meaning in the eyes of those who enforce the will and collectivist ideals of the power elite.
Recently, a judge in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the park police were justified in arresting Oberwetter. I suppose they believe that the right to freely express one's self in public ends once you step inside the hallowed halls of a memorial to the champion of the right to freely express one's self. But this case went further than that. It upheld the privileges of the policing class. It upheld their perceived authority and their ability to arbitrarily determine what constitutes a protest, or dancing, or an expression of any type and what constitutes a breech of the peace. It exonerated their abusive actions. Keep in mind that in this case no one was harmed and no one complained. It was the police who decided the actions of this woman was a form of protest, even though she'd likely tell you it was a form of celebration.
This court obviously couldn't care less about individual free speech rights, or any of the natural individual rights Jefferson so strongly advocated. This judge does not feel it necessary to protect those rights from overbearing police who would abuse their power and violate those rights. This judge. like so many others of their ilk, is not protecting the Constitution and the rights of the common folk, but is protecting the privileged class from being held accountable for their criminal actions that do harm others. It seems to me that Ms. Oberwetter wasn't arrested for the act of dancing, she was arrested for the act of questioning a law enforcement officer. She was arrested for questioning authority. That seems to be a great crime in this nation lately, one that many a judge in many a court is upholding.
Fortunately, the attitude of the population seems to be changing of late. Certain people are deciding for themselves what it means to be free and have stopped letting the control freaks in black dresses sitting behind benches decide. They have decided to question authority and the legitimacy of so called laws that discern no victims. They have decided to act like free people by simply saying "no" to authorities and disobeying their dictates. They decided to show solidarity with Brooke Oberwetter and anyone else who wished to dance at the Jefferson Memorial by holding their own little silent dancing event. They decided to expose tyranny for what it is. You can see what happened here.