Thursday, April 05, 2007

Red Light. Green Light.

I'm reading the headlines this morning:

"Y Protest Quite Tame"

"Demonstrators Duel Politely At BYU"

"Quiet Rallies At BYU"

Awwww.... BYU broke its cherry.

I have to admit that it's really cute to read how excited the BYU student protesters were yesterday. I mean, they were actually given permission to protest! Good for them. I hope, one day, with a little bit of hard work and persistence, that all of us can get permission to practice a little bit of free speech.

Watch an audio/photo montage of the protest here.

Speaking about the protests, "These occurrences are rare," BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said, adding she was impressed by the maturity and responsibility demonstrators exhibited Wednesday.

Meaning, they behaved. They sat down like they were told. They didn't speak out loud like they were told. They only protested until 1pm like they were told. And they let security stooges take their protest signs away without dissent.

Isn't that like asking the W.T.O. permission to protest them and then letting the W.T.O set the ground rules for the protest?

Lighting shit on fire. Seattle W.T.O protests in 2000.

Pissed off Asians fuck with the cops. Hong Kong W.T.O. protests in 2000.

Sure, BYU is a private institution, but that doesn't mean the Bill of Rights are exempt. Right? I mean, am I wrong here?

Anyways, remember "Red Light. Green light" as a kid? The game where you start running towards the moderator when they say "green light" and have to stop on a dime at "red light"? Kind of a stupid game, but it was sure fun when you were 5 years old.


Anonymous said...

Actually, the Bill of Rights, in this case, freedom of speech *can* be restricted on private property
(as well as in other situations, such as in public lower education schools). You might think this is stupid, but it's actually a protection of private property rights. Given that the right to property is also Constitutionally-protected, you're going to have to take your beef up with the Founding Fathers for creating a document that protects more than one right.

I also think that while it's true the protest was "tame" and that people being excited that it had been approved by the administration are perhaps not the makings of a revolution, but again, when talking about first amendment rights, it's the right to "peaceably assemble" or to lawfully assemble, not the right to get arrested.

I don't think a protest automatically becomes less meaningful when it's done lawfully, especially in a case like this, where the community at large is finding every possible excuse to marginalize and dismiss those who oppose Cheney. At least now, for every person who says we have to support Cheney because the decision to have him speak was "made by the administration" we can shove it back in their faces that they have to approve the protesting because it, too, was "approved by the administration."

There will be non-BYU protests as well. And I, for one, will probably participate in them. But I think it is exciting that BYU is showing the smallest amount of school-sanctioned political activism, speech, and diversity. It might be only a tiny move forward, but it's better than going backward.

dottie said...

I'm confused...

"If 'This Divided State' can teach anything to BYU students and local citizens on both sides of the issue, it's this: kicking and screaming will do the community no good. Try to have a civil and well-mannered dialogue about the issues at hand. And listen to each other! People didn't listen to each other during the Michael Moore controversy. And don't take your cues from the pundits on TV by telling each other to shut up."

"Have protests, engage in civil dialogues and, above all, remember that we're all Americans, whether we agree with Cheney or not," said Bryan Young, one of the film's producers, "The best thing about America is that we don't have to agree with each other and I can see already that there are lot of people who will be forced to opposite sides of this debate but they should all work their hardest to make that debate productive."

So, it looks like yesterday's events followed suit. It was a civil and well mannered example of civil discourse. So what's the problem?

The problem is you, Steven Greenstreet, can craft an insincere press statement, but all you really want is action for the camera. You don't care about people having a peaceful productive debate. You want conflict, 'cause without it you don't have jack to film.

Face it Steven, you're an opportunist hypocrite that will do whatever suits you to advance your own agenda that isn't political or moral, it's simply what you can do or say to get to this point (in your own words)

"Yes! I'm famous!"

Steven said...


You brought up some good points.

While I'll agree that there's nothing wrong with a lawful protest, I think it's silly that there be a "designated free speech zone" where free speech can only exist inside an invisible square.

Or that free speech closes at 1pm.

Or that you can sit down and hold signs, but shut up and don't say anything.

Or that you even have to go through red tape to voice your opinion.

That's seems kinda nutty to me.

But, anyways, thanks for the comment. It was way more thought out that any of mine.


Steven said...


I stand by my statement that advocates civil discourse.

I just think, as I commented to anonymous above, that BYU's way of dealing with the protests was childish and simplistic.

The rules BYU set for the students was like Daddy setting rules for how long his kids could play with their toys.

But, it doesn't matter what I think. You obviously have some beef with me, calling me a hypocrite and what have you.

If you want to discuss this matter civilly, please email me at

We can work this out. Trust me.


Aaron Kinney said...

Considering that the campus is private property, I dont think they were wrong in setting protest rules, but I do think that their actions should serve as a warning to prospective students how they will be treated if they enroll there and wish to keep their own voice.

What DOES piss me off though is the confiscation of students private property.

I dont care if its a $1 cardboard sign or a $5000 rolex. You try to take MY property, then you are gonna have hell to pay, buddy. I will ruin your day over a goddamn piece of construction paper. Its the principle of the thing!

Elias said...

It's unfortunate that "private property" is brought up so frequently as justification for almost anything unreasonable rule or regulation. We're talking about a university here, not a sovereign nation. The United States is a free speech zone where you don't have to say please or thank you in order to exercise that right.
Notice,RIGHT, not privilege. Not only a constitutional, but a God-given right.
Stop being so meek. And stop invoking "private property".
The very concept of "private property" IS theft.