Last night, a working member of the press was arrested covering the mass arrests at Occupy Nashville. I like to call this a “PR nightmare” which should be Gov. Bill Haslam and Bill Gibbons safe word right now.
Yet that’s what happened in the early morning hours, as Metro Night Court Judge Tom Nelson told the troopers who arrested 25 peaceful Occupy Nashville protesters at midnight on Legislative Plaza — along with Scene reporter Jonathan Meador, who was attempting to get off the plaza when he was cuffed and hauled off — that the curfew being enforced at the Capitol had no constitutional grounds whatsoever.
I find it to be amusing in a not so funny way our governor was in Memphis this week visiting the Civil Rights Museum.
A few things I’ve noticed is that political persuasion doesn’t mean beans right now when it come to the public outcry from Tennesseans. One thing that cannot be controlled is passion. I say it entirely too much but to quote Maya Angelou, it’s not what you say or what you do, it’s how you make people feel.
People are pissed. That’s how they feel.
People are protesting and engaged in the Occupy Movement because they feel they are losing things they have worked hard for their entire lives. There is no generational feel to this, the arrest records show people as young as 19 to a man in his mid-sixties. And what the Haslam Administration signed off on when they told Gibbons to start making arrests is gave more press and more of a mission that Tennesseans were not going to back down. First Amendment, gotta love it.
Maybe their safe word should be “Let them eat cake.”
Night Court Judge Tom Nelson, for the second morning in a row, cited “the curfew being enforced at the Capitol had no constitutional grounds whatsoever” in this morning’s post from Jim Ridley at the Nashville Scene. I reiterate that statement because democracy is messy and this is what it looks like especially when elected leaders and high-ranking government officials are trampling on one of the most important documents in American history.
Chris Wage has the photos from last night’s arrests. Betsy Phillips has also written about the First Amendment this morning being ignored as has Mike Byrd, who has been following the Occupy Movement from the beginning.