What you are about to witness is another anecdotal example – and not an insignificant one – of government officials feeling as though they have the right to squelch free speech with which they don't agree.
In the video below, Father Nathan Monk of Pensacola, Florida – who has officially been given time to speak – is called out of order by the Pensacola City Council and told to sit down after he argues that "As Americans, we have a right to redress our government without fear of being arrested."
As you'll see, he not only refuses to sit down as police officers attempt to remove him from the podium, but he chastises the council as he stands firm.
The video below begins at the moment of confrontation, before which Father Monk was defending citizens in a prior city council meeting who were removed for exercising their Constitutional rights to disagree with the City of Pensacola.
In the above video, council members John Jerralds and Sherri Myers stand up and leave the chambers in protest as the rest of the council remains, seated, waiting for Father Monk to be taken away.
While these two deserve deep praise for doing so, they were the exception, unfortunately, rather than the rule.
As Occupy Wall Street has highlighted, and as debate over the National Defense Authorization Bill (NDAA) has demonstrated, we are living at a time in which many of our elected leaders are willing to stretch the threads stitching our Constitution together as taught as possible in order to protect their own corporate interests, their own governing interests, their own egos.
And we are living at a time in which the above truth is being captured and reflected back to us in unsettling volumes. In journalists' accounts. In YouTube videos. In Tweets, blog posts, photographs.
Such anecdotal accounts are quickly becoming pieces of evidence proving the thesis that our freedoms are waning as our government – backed by corporate interests – subsumes them for its own gain.
The question is this: how many of us will be moved enough by the Father Monks of the world to gather, in large numbers, and collectively redress our government for our many grievances?
Occupy Wall Street and Father Monk are one and the same. They are our only hope – if hope indeed exists – to shatter the corrupt holds strangling our elected leaders.
Father Monk was ruled out of order for severely critiquing his government. He in turn responded, "You are out of order."
The double entendre is powerful, and true.
Our government is out of order – not only broken, but out of bounds. At almost every level.
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Author's Note 1:
According to the Pensacola News Journal:[Monk] had been complaining that [City Council President Sam] Hall had removed or silenced several citizens at a Dec. 12 council committee meeting as they spoke against a proposed ordinance to prevent homeless people from camping in public areas and some private areas within the city limits.
Now, with the YouTube video spreading, Monk is demanding that Hall publicly apologize for what he calls "a sick and gross abuse of power."
"You don't have the right to determine what type of speech people are going to have when they are addressing their government for a redress of grievances," Monk said. "This council does not have the right to limit people's speech. As Americans, we have the right to redress our government without fear of being arrested."
President Hall has refused to apologize, and defends the action by saying it was a matter of civility, not an issue of free speech.
Watch the entire video and tell me which issue you think was at play here. I think the answer is clear.
Author's Note 2:.
If you would like to send Father Monk a note of support, you can email him at the address listed on his profile at Saint Benedict Mission Church