Making the cars run on time

Republicans are excited about the project to Make America Great at long last, and one of their ways of doing that is to clamp down on all this god damn protesting. No Great nation allows all this god damn protesting! A Great nation has rapidly flowing traffic, and peaceful sidewalks on which people can sit sipping expensive coffee and talking about mergers.

Since the election of President Trump, Republican lawmakers in at least 18 states have introduced or voted on legislation to curb mass protests in what civil liberties experts are calling “an attack on protest rights throughout the states.”

From Virginia to Washington state, legislators have introduced bills that would increase punishments for blocking highways, ban the use of masks during protests, indemnify drivers who strike protesters with their cars and, in at least once case, seize the assets of people involved in protests that later turn violent. The proposals come after a string of mass protest movements in the past few years, covering everything from police shootings of unarmed black men to the Dakota Access Pipeline to the inauguration of Trump.

Police shootings of unarmed African Americans should go unprotested! People can write tactful letters to someone if they want to, but mass protests are simply vulgar. If Native Americans want clean drinking water and protected sites they should go to DC and speak to their Representatives.

Some are introducing bills because they say they’re necessary to counter the actions of “paid” or “professional” protesters who set out to intimidate or disrupt, a common accusation that experts agree is largely overstated. “You now have a situation where you have full-time, quasi-professional agent-provocateurs that attempt to create public disorder,” said Republican state senator John Kavanagh of Arizona in support of a measure there that would bring racketeering charges against some protesters.

I think there should be a Congressional committee to look into this. They could call it the House Un-American Activities Committee – HUAC for short. Catchy, no?

None of the proposed legislation has yet been passed into law, and several bills have already been shelved in committee.

Critics doubt whether many of the laws would pass Constitutional muster. “The Supreme Court has gone out of its way on multiple occasions to point out that streets, sidewalks and public parks are places where [First Amendment] protections are at their most robust,” said Lee Rowland, a senior attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Yes but Trump has a plan to do away with all that and Make America Great Again.

This is by no means the first time in American history that widespread protests have inspired a legislative backlash, says Douglas McAdam, a Stanford sociology professor who studies protest movements. “For instance, southern legislatures — especially in the Deep South — responded to the Montgomery Bus Boycott (and the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education) with dozens and dozens of new bills outlawing civil rights groups, limiting the rights of assembly, etc. all in an effort to make civil rights organizing more difficult,” he said via email.

“Similarly,” he added, “laws designed to limit or outlaw labor organizing or limit labor rights were common in the late 19th/early 20th century.”

And on the private citizen side, there was plenty of violence unleashed against the protesters and union organizers.

Even the accusations of “paid” or “professional” agitators, which Trump has promoted, have been leveled at protesters before.

“This is standard operating procedure for movement opponents,” Stanford’s McAdam said. “Civil rights workers were said to be ‘outside agitators, and the tea party was dismissed as an ‘AstroTurf’ phenomenon — funded from on high by the Koch brothers and others — rather than a legitimate ‘grass roots’ movement. In all these cases, including the present, the charges are generally bogus, with the vast majority of protesters principled individuals motivated by the force of deeply held values and strong emotion.”

The Post lists the proposed legislation state by state.

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