President George W. Bush has made a point of using the terms “freedom” and “liberty” in his latest speeches as many times as humanly possible. He also stressed in his acceptance speech in November how he wants to represent even those that did not vote for him. It’s therefore more than odd how his own constituents are now allowed access to his speeches for dubious reasons and demonstrators are shunned to areas where they are hardly seen.
President Bush is touring five states in order to garner support for his plans to privatize Social Security. But in several locations citizens are not able to obtain tickets to the free events.
Fargo newspaper The Forum reported Thursday at least 42 people had been placed on a “do-not-admit list” to such an event in Fargo and had been denied access. The list included high school students, a librarian as well as university professors. When the paper contacted the White House and the North Dakota’s governor for comment they received a non-denial. “This is the first I’m hearing of it,” the governor’s office declared.
But this is hardly an isolated event. In the past, events in the Tampa region seemed to operate on such a basis.
When President Bush came to the USF campus to campaign for his brother Jeb Bush’s re-election as Florida governor, students complained they had been denied access to the Sun Dome even though they had tickets.
At the same event, police officers on horseback literally herded demonstrators to areas on campus away from most visitors of the event, and most certainly far away from the president himself. It was one of the first times such so-called “free speech zones” were created, but the practice is being repeated at virtually all public events the president attends.
The Sun Dome, so went the argument at the time, had been rented by the Republican Party, which then had every right to turn away whoever they chose.
But how can access be denied to regular citizens who wish to see their president? As long as taxpayers foot the bill for the events, security and transportation on Air Force One this seems hardly fair.
While Bush clearly preaches free speech and liberty to other nations, he undermines his credibility when such basic rights are not in effect in his own country.
President Bush will speak at the Tampa Performing Arts center at 6 p.m. tonight. Students that were refused tickets or admission are encouraged to contact The Oracle: email@example.com