Last night when I couldn’t sleep I found a news item that piqued my curiosity.
Evidently 5 people were arrested at The Jefferson Memorial on Saturday for what was considered ‘expressive dancing.’ At first I thought they were just happy but then read how it was a planned demonstration protesting the new law ‘All National Monuments are considered places for reflection and contemplation’ that was recently passed which explains why Saturday’s waltzing was out.
Apparently on April 13th, 2008 a woman named Mary Brooke Oberwetter went to the memorial at midnight to celebrate Tom’s 265th birthday, something that certainly would have been right up my alley. She went with a group of friends and danced silently while listening to head phones.
The Park Police, after several severe warnings, ended up arresting her.
Her crime? Taking attention away from Mr. J.
I mean come on, no offense to Mary, but that’s like a Bar Mitzvah singer outshining Elvis.
She sued on a free speech violation citing the ‘First Amendment’ but lost thus the new law.
I thought a lot about this since I’m a great lover of the National Mall and too was admonished not that long ago for running around The Vietnam Memorial. Now my reaction was quite different. When the retired soldier who was now a park’s ranger explained to me why, I kind of got it. Of course I wasn’t offended either nor felt my right for ‘free expression’ was stolen from beneath me.
I was merely getting my miles in while working in Washington.
Do I think Mary Brooke and the group on Saturday should have been arrested? Absolutely not, it seemed a bit harsh despite their refusal to stop.
Thomas Jefferson, who was a real proponent of revolution, would have loved it; Americans standing up for their rights especially one that he initiated?
There’s poetry in that to be sure.
I watched the video that’s floating around and the park police were unnecessarily rough along with the 5 who were, I’ll admit, antagonistic.
Gentler communication on both sides?
Those billy clubs and hand cuffs do come out a little too fast for my taste.
I remember visiting the Jefferson Memorial 4 years ago after not going for quite some time becoming so moved I broke down in tears. I stood there for quite a while involuntarily sobbing. It does help when you know more about him other than his alleged, controversial love life making him a man who deserves all of our tears.
When I think about it, crying that loudly might have been considered too much of a displayed distraction disturbing the peace if you will.
I’m lucky they didn’t haul me in.
“What’s that Tom?”
“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.”
“That sounds familiar.”
“That’s because I said it.”
“And, Tom we do hold these truths to be self evident, don’t we?”
“You mean like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?”
“Are you making fun of me Susannah?”
“NO!!! I love you Tom. You invented carbons for God’s sake.”
“I prefer duplicating system that I refined.”
“Of course, I should have had my facts straight; delay is preferable to error.”
“I said that.”
“I know, it’s one of my favorites.”
“Tell me another?”
“Be true to your teeth and they’ll never be false to you.”
“I never said that.”
“I know, Soupy Sales did.”
“Oh yes, I know Soupy, we had lunch the other day, interesting chap.”
“Takes one to know one.”
“Thank you Susannah.”