Democracy Kept at Bay

RECEIVED Tue., July 16, 2013

Dear Editor,
    The Texas abortion bill has received abundant national press coverage. Unfortunately, stories focus mainly on technical details such as who the bill affects or how it will impact the economy. What is ignored by the media in its gracious service to the ruling class is the reality of citizens in Austin being denied the right to participate in government by the cold shoulder of politicians and the brute force of policemen.
    On Saturday, a photograph circulated on Facebook of protester Joshua Pineda bleeding a big puddle out of his head after being slammed to the ground by DPS officials at the Capitol. Last week, pro-choice advocate Sarah Slamen, who’d been invited to testify at the Senate hearings, was escorted for no legal reason out of the Capitol by armed guards mere minutes after beginning a well-deserved tirade against the Stone Age legislators.
    Such treatment of citizens would spark outrage if it happened in, say, Turkey. Yet media coverage of this open, physical attack on democracy at home is sparse to nonexistent. Yahoo! News actually had the gall to run the headline, “Protesters disrupt Texas debate on abortion.” It is a truly cynical media that characterizes citizens demanding to be heard as a “disruption.”
    Sadly, the people’s voices mean nothing to Governor Perry, DPS, or the national media. Real democracy tried nobly to assert itself in the Texas abortion debate through the courage of Slamen, Pineda, Senator Wendy Davis, and their like. It was kept at bay with badges and handcuffs while Republicans blitzed their regressive, unwanted legislation through. Perry and DPS are the real disruptors of democracy, not the protesters.
Kyle Schmidlin
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