Sunday, February 7, 2016

That's exceptional, America (really)

That's exceptional, America (really)



There hasn't been much good news this week, so I'll end it on an upbeat note:

In the first full courtroom trials of Occupy Philadelphia, protesters arrested during their two-month campaign in the city, all 10 defendants were acquitted Thursday on charges of obstructing a highway during an Oct. 23 protest outside Police Headquarters.


Arnold said he believed that the protest had opened "up the public dialogue on police brutality and gave that issue more attention than it usually gets."

Larry Krasner, who also represented several defendants, said the law recognizes that exercising free speech may cause inconvenience, including slowing down traffic. Vehicles were diverted around that portion of Eighth Street during the sit-in.

But Krasner noted that Mummers parades and many other events cause the same challenges.

"Our position was that freedom is inconvenient, and it's inconvenient in a lot of ways," he said, "but it's also reasonable that it be inconvenient."

Actually, I'm a little surprised, since the protest in question was a planned act of civil disobedience. Given this outcome, I wonder what will happen to the Occupy protestors who were arrested in November long after police had dispersed them from Dilworth Plaza. Those arrests seemed unnecessary and silly. The bottom line is this: People fighting to reclaim the public square are winning. And these anti-government protesters were able to get justice inside a U.S. courtroom.

That's the American exceptionalism I know and love.

Have a great weekend.


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Will Bunch
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