FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What’s It All About?

by JANE DOE

Iwatched the video “Come Dance With Me” before CounterPunch selected it as the website of the day with this title: “If You Dance, You Will Be Arrested.” Activists were arrested on Saturday, May 28, for swaying, moving their arms, anything police officers who patrolled the Thomas Jefferson Memorial construed as dancing (freedom of expression) which according to the officers is a demonstration.

Back-story: Earlier in May, A U.S. Appeals Court handed down a decision that banned dancing inside the memorial. Those arrested gathered to oppose this ruling that’s a violation of the First Amendment.

The video is shocking.

I heard a participant ask, “What law is that?”

Then, I watched an officer arrest two people who were embracing, barely moving.

Several times, someone said, “This is ridiculous.” And, “What is going on here?”

“This is America,” another said.

The officers were brutal with Iraq war veteran Adam Kokesh who wasn’t exactly resisting arrest. He just wasn’t cooperating. An officer shouted, “This is your last warning. This is your last warning.” Thrown to the ground, Kokesh was body slammed and choked.

The video is stunning proof of abuse of power. When it went viral, even the MSM took notice. People from all political persuasions began expressing outrage.

Soon, a Facebook event page was put up to announce a dance the following Saturday.

On June 4th, a large crowd gathered to dance at the Jefferson Memorial. Later, I watched CODEPINK’s video of this action.

In this one, Adam Kokesh took the microphone and said, “This is a cause that transcends partisanship or ideology of any kind because this is about basic human dignity, so let’s dance.”

And they did. Tighe Barry yelled, “This is what freedom looks like. This is what we look like.” At some point, park police temporarily closed the area but the dancers moved to the steps where they chanted and sang, “We can dance. We can dance. Liberty is our goal.”

At the end of the video, Medea Benjamin said,

?So many of us were inside expressing ourselves through joy, and the police were there, armed to the teeth, but they didn’t do a thing, and that is beautiful and that’s showing a lesson in democracy not only to the park police but to the rest of this country and around the world?.

My reaction to the second video was astoundingly different from the first. I couldn’t watch without questioning the celebratory mood of the dancers.

I have respect for anyone willing to be arrested for challenging an evermore-repressive “leadership” that disregards the Constitution and democratic ideals while uttering platitudes about spreading democracy to other countries. Benjamin has engaged in acts of great courage for years. But I fail to see her “lesson in democracy” this time. If the world were watching, the reaction might be a little like mine?that US Empire continues to exact unbearable human suffering throughout the world in the name of democracy. Compared to the atrocities being committed in our names, crowing about not getting arrested for dancing at the Jefferson Memorial is supercilious and obnoxious.

Jane Doe is a long-time member of Code Pink.

 

Limited Time Special Offer!
Get CounterPunch Print Edition By Email for Only $25 a Year!

 

More articles by:
May 26, 2016
Ajamu Nangwaya
Pan-Africanism, Feminism and Finding Missing Pan-Africanist Women
Howard Lisnoff
Israel, a Palestinian State and Anti-Semitism
May 25, 2016
Eric Draitser
Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy
Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?
Dan Arel
The Socialist Revolution Beyond Sanders and the Democratic Party
Marc Estrin
Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs
Sam Husseini
Layers of Islamophobia: Do Liberals Care That Hillary Returned “Muslim Money”?
Susan Babbitt
Invisible in Life, Invisible in Death: How Information Becomes Useless
Mel Gurtov
Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?
Kathy Kelly
Hammering for Peace
Dick Reavis
The Impeachment of Donald Trump
Wahid Azal
Behind the Politics of a Current Brouhaha in Iran: an Ex-President Ayatollah’s Daughter and the Baha’is
Jesse Jackson
Obama Must Recommit to Eliminating Nuclear Arms
Colin Todhunter
From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the Shadow of Global Agribusiness
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey as Terror: the Role of Ankara in the Brexit Referendum
Dave Lindorff
72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
Uri Avnery
Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here
John Stauber
Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning
James Bovard
Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents
Desiree Hellegers
“Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street
Lawrence Davidson
The Unraveling of Zionism?
Patrick Cockburn
Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks
Robert Koehler
Rethinking Criminal Justice
Lawrence Wittner
The Return of Democratic Socialism
Ha-Joon Chang
What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters
John V. Walsh
Only Donald Trump Raises Five “Fundamental and Urgent” Foreign Policy Questions: Stephen F. Cohen Bemoans MSM’s Dismissal of Trump’s Queries
Andrew Stewart
The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail