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Suppressing Speech in an Election Year By: Michael P. Tremoglie
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, November 01, 2004

Three times in two weeks, the Kerry campaign and the Democratic Party shredded the Constitution of the United States of America. They did so near the place where America was born – Philadelphia – just miles from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

On October 19, 2004, a movie theater in Jenkintown Pennsylvania, a suburban borough just north of Philadelphia with a population of about 4500, was scheduled to show the documentary Stolen Honor. This movie features the testimony of Vietnam POW’s critical of John Kerry.

However, after receiving threats of "civil disobedience" (i.e. destruction of property and possible physical intimidation), the owner of the theater canceled the showing. Because of Stalinist intimidation, nearly 400 people were denied the opportunity to see a movie simply because it was critical of a presidential candidate.

Jenkintown was more like Tienamen Square than Independence Mall. According to Gil Spencer, a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, a suburban Philadelphia paper, "Thuggish pro-Kerry 'protesters' showed up at the urging of the Kerry campaign. Police had to be called to the scene to keep order. A lawsuit was threatened against the theater by one of Sen. Kerry’s anti-war activist friends, who claim the film defames him. …This was no spontaneous reaction. It was orchestrated by Kerry’s Pennsylvania campaign coordinator, Tony Podesta….In an Oct. 15 e-mail to Kerry supporters, Podesta trashed ‘Stolen Honor,’ calling the man who made it, decorated Vietnam veteran Carlton Sherwood, a ‘disgraced former journalist, right-wing propagandist and apologist for cult-leader Sun Myung Moon.’ (He leaves out Mr. Sherwood’s Pulitzer Prize.)"

Ironically Jenkintown, where this stifling of the First Amendment took place, is part of Abington Township, PA. Abington’s political claim to fame is that its school district’s policy of reading the Bible resulted in the Supreme Court case of Abington School District v. Schempp, which mandated that reading the Bible in school violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

Eight days later, another presentation of "Stolen Honor" was scheduled in the Philadelphia suburb of Blue Bell, PA. Carlton Sherwood -- the movie’s producer, director, and narrator, and a decorated Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War -- was scheduled to appear, along with Jerome Corsi co-author of the book Unfit for Command, which is also critical of John Kerry.

This presentation, too, was canceled. The owner of the conference center where it was to be shown was concerned about security after receiving anonymous complaints about the movie. He presumably learned the lessons from the Jenkintown debacle. Approximately 300 people were denied the right to attend this presentation.

Twice in less than two weeks, more than 200 years and less than 25 miles from where our forefathers conceived of a nation where political speech could not be censored by the government, a political party and representatives of that government successfully aborted the Constitution of the United States of America.

Vietnam veterans who have given their limbs and their lives in defense of this country were denied their right of freedom of speech, which is guaranteed by our government. They were denied this right by those who yelled the loudest when they claimed it was denied to them.

Two days later, on October 29, another Vietnam veteran was arrested while protesting the candidacy of John Kerry outside of Philadelphia’s VA hospital.

Not content with denying the Vietnam war hero Carlton Sherwood and the seventeen courageous POW’s interviewed in "Stolen Honor" their right to freedom of expression, it seems the Kerry campaign in the Philadelphia area believes any criticism of John Kerry is verboten just as the criticism, say, the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is forbidden.

A little more than two centuries after the United States of America, a nation that became the model of civil rights for the world, was born, less than 25 miles from the place where it was born, the ideas that created this nation of ours are being shattered - by those who revere the civil liberties of accused terrorists.

This dichotomy won't be lost on listless conservative voters, genuine civil libertarians, and left-leaning First Amendment advocates this Election Day.

A former police officer, Michael P. Tremoglie recently published his first novel, A Sense of Duty. His work has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Human Events, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has a Master of Science degree from Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia.

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