Dear Editor,

I have a great concern, and so should every American. This concern is the Constitutional right to protest against our government.

Article 1, states “The rights of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”. We the people have the right to exercise this Article. It is in our constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. Every elected official (and I was one) swore and oath to “uphold and defend” our constitution. To day the G.O.P. and its legislators are trying to take away this right. The G.O.P. Governors and elected bodies are trying to pass laws making it extremely difficult to exercise this right. These new “laws” would unlawfully impose fines, jail sentences and more. There is even a law being introduced in some State (e.g. North Carolina) that a person operating a motor vehicle could run someone protesting down, cause serious injury or even deal with no legal consequences of such action. I have been clubbed, hand cuffed and jailed on the pretense of many accusations that held no merit in court. I was released with no pending action. I would do it again and again to secure the rights given to us by our constitution.

Peaceful assembly is possible, but when the action of some law enforcement officials and others, cause the protest to become violent, action and re-actions take place and both parties are wrong.

Recently an article appeared that the United Nations is very concerned about the rights of Americans to assemble and protest. Why? Because if in America this right is trampled upon, we the nation that promotes freedoms for the entire world are suppressed, than what hope do other nations seeking democracy and freedom for its people.

 The present administration is vey dangerously playing with our rights, and must be stopped with all possible ways, by the people. They have forgotten or just don’t care that they serve us. To quote one of our founding fathers, “If in the name of security the rights of the people are violated then, none of use are secure.”

 A prime example of this is portrayed in a movie about a true story. It aired back in the late 1980’s. It was titles “Skokie Illinois” and Danny Kaye starred in it. It was about a predominately Jewish neighborhood, where the Nazis Party wanted to have a protest march. The ACLU attorney which, was representing the people of Skokie, explained with great contention that the Nazis Party had the right to assemble and march. He stated that if government was allowed under any pretense to suppress the Nazi Parties right to assemble, then what would stop them from suppressing their rights? Truer words were never spoken. The people of Skokie did finally have the answer to their dilemma and the way they handled it was very unique. I would strongly suggest that if possible, all Americans should view this movie about this true story.

 If government does suppress this right to assemble and protest, where will it stop? Remember that during our revolution, many places were used to assemble places like taverns, pubs and even churches. It is a concern for all.

 Michael A. Grieco

 Chipley