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Nazis Speak In Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday

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  • Gregory
    I really laughed hard. It was a satisfying and heartfelt laugh. Next to me was a father from Madison who brought his two young children to witness the event
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 26, 2006
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      I really laughed hard. It was a satisfying and heartfelt laugh.
      Next to me was a father from Madison who brought his two young
      children to witness the event and see democracy in action. There
      was a lot for them to see and hear and I am glad to say that the real
      winner was free speech.

      God started the rain just a few minutes after the neo-Nazis started
      to speak on the steps of the Wisconsin State Capital Saturday
      afternoon. The prefect choreographer from above made the point for
      all who live in Madison and share the values of diversity and
      inclusion. The message for the Nazis was twofold and
      straightforward. We respect your right to speak but find your speech
      to be harmful and absurd. About three minutes of a cold rain can
      really take the bite off a hate filled speech.

      Saturday mornings in downtown Madison are the place to meet and
      mingle as thousands converge for coffee drinking and pastry eating
      while purchasing fruits and vegetables (and famous preserves) from
      the Farmers Market. It has been a part of my spring and summers for
      nearly 20 years. Today however the market had to shut down two hours
      early so the streets could be cleared, the barricades erected, and
      the police could put on their riot year.

      One quarter of the State Capital was barricaded off with high wire
      fence near to where the Nazis would speak while the sidewalk area was
      cordoned off with double row snow fence and traffic barriers as seen
      on the roads during construction season. The hours of work that went
      into preparing for the safety of the speakers was amazing to
      witness.

      While the press and many others all this week told the public to
      ignore the Nazis and give them no attention, several thousands of
      protesters of all ages found the need to stand up to them and state
      their objections directly. (Your blogger was there to report the
      events for this post.)

      At 2:00 P.M. with well over 50 riot gear clad officers on the lawn of
      the Capital, some on horses with the animal's eyes protected against
      any eventuality, the Nazis took the top steps of the Capital. Just a
      few feet from the window where I had my office in the past they
      marched and saluted as if they were actually in front of an adoring
      crowd. While they used slogans about bringing the troops home from
      Iraq they talked disparagingly about immigrants, Jews, and a whole
      list of people they deem inferior. For drama and flair they walked
      on an Israeli flag. (To be honest, Nazis have very little stage
      presence.)

      While the city and state paid for the protection that the Nazis
      required, the fact that their rants and hallucinations were able to
      be made shows the underlying strength we have as a city and a
      nation. While many protestors (I estimate a thousand or more) united
      in loud boos and other vocal retorts no one can say the Nazis did not
      have an opportunity to speak and have their message heard. Likewise
      the citizens who felt the need to stand up to the small-minded idiots
      giving the Hitler salutes also were able to openly vent and yell.

      For the two small children if was a real taste of the inner turmoil
      that still grips our nation about free speech. Both those children
      were able to see firsthand how the vilest of speech needs protection
      (in this case literally) so that all speech can be free and
      uncensored.

      The public square today was for more than selling fruits and
      vegetables at the Farmers Market. Today democracy was center stage
      and Madison and the Constitution were the winners. I think that
      father was a winner too as he took his time to bring his kids to see
      free speech and democracy at work.
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