If You Can Keep It

At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, when queried as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation, Ben Franklin was asked by a lady, “Well, doctor, which is it to be? A monarchy or a republic?” to which he replied, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”

The enemies of the republican form of government, and the foes of the human spirit, know very well how to make a society throw its legacy away: merely by teaching the young that being safe, especially being safe from dangerous ideas, is a treasure more precious than freedom.

Raise a generation of fatherless and weak boys to be cowardly men, and vain girls to be selfish and immodest women, and the enemy has done his work. He has vanquished the Union without ever raising a flag, winding a trumpet, or drawing a saber.

The students educated in an Orwellian environment of being protected against all discourse and discord will emerge thinking such things are normal and right, and they will love Big Brother.  They will kiss the gyves and manacles being bolted to their limbs.

From PJ Media:

The artistic genius behind the highly acclaimed conservative satirical site The People’s Cube has been arrested and released on $8,000 bail for putting up pro-Israel posters to combat a pro-Islamist conference at George Mason University. He now faces the prospect of five years in prison for allegedly committing a “class 6 felony.”

Beloved satirist Oleg Atbashian (who has contributed to PJ Media) has gotten in trouble for defying authorities before: “Back in my Soviet dissident days, when I was collecting signatures in defense of Andrei Sakharov, I was screamed at, threatened, and lectured by the KGB and Communist functionaries,” Oleg says. “What I never imagined was that in the United States, the land of the free, I would not only be subjected to similar treatment, but go to jail.”

The article quotes extensively from Atbashian, describing the incident:

My part in it was to create provocative artwork for the posters and to hang them around the GMU campus, as well as to distribute flyers in order to raise awareness among the students, faculty, and the administration about the true meaning of their support for the SJP conference.

On the first day, my friend and I placed a few stickers on walls, poles, and signs around the GMU campus. We also placed paper flyers inside and outside the university buildings. We had decided to hang the larger posters on the following night, right before the start of the SJP conference.

Arriving at the campus in the evening, we noticed a large police presence everywhere, including the campus Starbucks. From what we overheard at the tables, the police were on the lookout for people posting “disturbing” flyers. At one point we considered canceling our mission due to this higher risk, but then decided to hang a few posters in new locations, in order to get the message out more effectively.

We only had time to hang three large posters when, at about 4am, our car was pulled over by a GMU PD cruiser with flashing lights. As we found out later, they already had a description of our rental KIA Optima. Officer M.J. Guston and his female partner, Officer Daniels, requested to see our drivers’ licenses, which they took away. Then they inquired if we had any weapons and proceeded with the visual search, noticing our bucket with mixed wheat paste and some rolled posters on the back seat, covered with towels.

The police officers took pictures of the contents of our car and retrieved some of the loose fliers from the floor as evidence. They claimed that since we were covering the posters and flyers with towels, we intended to conceal our wrongdoing. We explained that the towels were needed to wipe our hands, to prevent the bucket from spilling, and to stop the papers from rolling around the car, which was the honest truth.

The officers said we had been photographed while attaching the flyers, but never showed us the actual pictures. They ordered us to give them our car key and to step out of the car. Then we were told to put our hands behind our backs and to spread our legs.  Officer Guston then held my thumbs behind my back with his left hand, while his right hand gave me a complete and very thorough pat-down and searched the content of my pockets. He repeated the same procedure with my friend, repeatedly asking us if we had any kind of weapons on us or in the car.

My friend and I tried to be as friendly and cooperative as the situation allowed, but that had no effect. We were ordered to sit on the curb, as Officer Daniels told us that the content of our posters was violent and disturbing to some students, especially the one with the Hamas terrorist standing in pools of blood over his dead victims. Such interpretation flipped our message on its head entirely, turning it from sympathy for the victims of violence into a threat of violence.

It dawned on me that the reason they kept searching us and asking about weapons was that they were convinced we were members of some violent militant group of “domestic terrorists” who meant to do harm to the students – a stereotype largely created by the “progressive” media and unscrupulous politicians. And now we, defenseless artists, armed with nothing but brushes and paper, became victims of this manipulative mythology, which caused the police to treat us with extreme prejudice. At the same time, the officers who handled us as if we were terrorists, seemed to be blissfully unaware of the true nature of the SJP they were defending, and their organization’s very real ties to a known terrorist organization with a record of mass murder, kidnappings, and targeting innocent civilians.

Since they couldn’t find any weapons and our message was protected by the First Amendment, the officers decided to charge us with “destruction of property worth of at least $2,500,” which was a “class 6 felony.” (Editor’s note: According to VA law, intentional destruction of property that is worth $1,000 or more is a class 6 felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a maximum of $2,500 in fines.) They claimed we had “super-glued” our fliers to school signs and it was impossible to peel them off.

It didn’t matter that we never used permanent glue, or that there could be other volunteers on campus who posted the stickers they could have downloaded online. Our wallpaper paste was made of wheat and water; we only used it on three large posters, which could be easily removed with water and would be washed off by the first rain. The rest were stickers, printed on regular self-adhesive paper found in any office store. They, too, could be easily removed with a tissue soaked in Goo Gone, a common household cleaner found in any dollar store. We even offered to remove any posters and stickers for them, then catch our flights in the morning and never bother them again. But the officers weren’t interested in that. They seemed to have a rather inflexible phantom image of us as dangerous felons and “right-wing extremists” who belonged in jail

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