FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What’s It All About?

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:
Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?
Franklin Lamb
Could “Tough Love” Salvage Lebanon?
George Ochenski
Why Wild Horse Island is Still Wild
Ann Garrison
Nikki Haley: Damn the UNHRC and the Rest of You Too
Jonah Raskin
What’s Hippie Food? A Culinary Quest for the Real Deal
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Brian Wakamo
We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture
Patrick Higgins
Children in Cages Create Glimmers of the Moral Reserve
Patrick Bobilin
What Does Optimism Look Like Now?
Don Qaswa
A Reduction of Economic Warfare and Bombing Might Help 
Robin Carver
Why We Still Need Pride Parades
Jill Richardson
Immigrant Kids are Suffering From Trauma That Will Last for Years
Thomas Mountain
USA’s “Soft” Coup in Ethiopia?
Jim Hightower
Big Oil’s Man in Foreign Policy
Louis Proyect
Civilization and Its Absence
David Yearsley
Midsummer Music Even the Nazis Couldn’t Stamp Out
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail