One reason America is such a great country, is because of our right to free speech. I have been practicing this right for most of my life, going back as far as the anti war movement of the late sixties. When it comes to free speech, one should follow the golden rule. You should be able to say whatever you like, as should I.
Here in Austin Texas, things have been getting pretty heated up with the election coming here, and this being an important state for our Democratic candidates. What I have witnessed here lately, has made me proud, as well as disappointed. I work at the University of Texas campus, and have been very proud to see so many young people getting involved with the political process. What has disappointed me, are the few that seem to believe that only they have the right to free speech.
Before the Hillary and Obama debate here, we had a large group of supporters from different camps showing their support, by holding up signs and making noise. Mostly they were from the Hillary and Obama camps. At first the police put up a long yellow tape and told all of the Hillary supporters to get on one side, and the Obama people to get on the other. It appeared to me that the Hillary supporters out numbered the Obama people two to one. After a while, the Obama people moved to one side of the campus street, while Hillary’s people moved to the other.
At one point, one of the Hillary leaders asked for fifteen people to move up the hill to the main street. At this location there was a large group of Obama supporter, holding up two very large banners, and many more holding smaller signs. I think they wanted people driving by to see this larger group of Obama supporters near the busy road, and believe that the main large group down the hill, was also mostly Obama supporters. I volunteered and headed up the hill into this large group of Obama supporters.
Most of the people were on the west side of the road, nearer to the main groups, while on the other side, were a lesser number of Obama people, holding their two large banners and smaller signs. The traffic had become very busy, because it was around quitting time, so it was almost impossible for our guys to cross this four lane road. We did have one person there and near where our person was standing, and on top of a short hill, was one of our Hillary signs placed into the ground and leaning against an oak tree. This sign had six posters on it, so you could see three on one side, and three on the other.
When the Obama people saw our sign, their large group moved up to the top of the hill, and appeared to be trying to block the view from passers by. I thought that this was a little uncool, but didn’t think much about it. Not long after that, I and a few of our supporters witnessed one of their people pull our sign out of the ground, and threw it into the dirt. They seem to believe that because there were so few of us Hillary supporters at this location, that they didn’t think we would see them, or just didn’t care.
Right away one woman from our side, ran across the busy street and recovered the sign and held it next to their group. She must have been braver than I, because I had to wait a minute before I could get across. Seeing them do this, made me very upset. I held up my sign to them and said, why don’t you come knock my sign down? After all, isn’t that what you Obama people are all about? They look rather frightened and refused.
I began to march near them shouting, “Hillary believes in free speech and Obama people are uncool.” I went up to the group again and told them, "you don’t knock down my flag, and you don’t knock down my sign.” A little later I asked them how they would like it if I took down their banner that I was standing next to? Another lady from our group made it across the street about this time, and began untying their banner after seeing me point to it while asking them.
At about this point, the person that vandalized our sign, said that she was sorry. I then said right away that that was all I wanted to hear, and headed down the hill to the woman taking down their banner, and told her that they apologized. She then stopped. After awhile, they gave up and crossed the street and headed for the main groups. We then put our sign back where it was, and stayed near making sure nobody did this again.
This was just one of many incidences that happened that day. Later we discovered that we weren’t the only ones having to deal with this kind of behavior, coming from the Obama camp. Mostly their people would run through groups of our people, shouting and shoving people out of their way. When one of these people came up to me, he found that I wasn’t going to move out of his way, like most people did. This made him very upset, and he cursed at me while sticking his finger in my face. He then told me that I was using my sign as a weapon. I almost couldn’t believe my ears after hearing this. What a cowardly bald face lie, I thought to myself.
By now, I like most people there, began to see that their was a huge difference between our two groups. Many people would write later to the school paper in the forum section, and discussed about how childish the Obama people had act at this rally. You might think that it was because they were young, and didn’t know any better, if it wasn’t for the fact that we had two times the number of young people there, who behaved better than any group that I have ever demonstrated with.
I just wanted to tell people about what I had witnessed, because I had heard many times Obama speak about how he wanted to bring the country together, and thought that perhaps people should know the truth, before it’s too late. If Senator Obama were to tell his people to show a little respect, then I wouldn’t feel the need to point out the difference between his rhetoric and reality. How could anyone bring the country together, when they can’t even show a little respect to there own party?