Letter: Romney staff denied freedom of speech

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To the editor:

Of the many online commenters to the articles published by the Craig Daily Press regarding the presumed Republican Party’s presidential candidate’s visit to Craig last week, this one caught our eye:

“You need to wake up. How many laws are you going to let them pass? I do not want someone controlling my freedoms. It's time to take back control.”

We imagine the First Amendment is one of the freedoms the commenter values.

Would the commenter be upset if President Barack Obama came to Craig to deliver a speech on public property and she was not allowed to bring signs that didn't fit with the message?

Would she be upset if she was told that no signs were allowed yet found out later that plenty of on-topic signs were not only permitted, but openly displayed? Would she be upset if she learned that she was lied to by the president’s people?

That is exactly what happened to us, except it was not President Obama’s staff who did this, but the staff of the presumed Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.

Since this was an historical moment for the people in Northwest Colorado, we thought it would be a great opportunity to educate Romney about the injustices being inflicted on the claimants under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000, as amended EEOICPA.

We made two signs.

One stated, “Help Sick Nuke Workers,” and the other “Justice for Sick Nuke Workers.”

We also hoped these signs would be noticed by the national press and they would inquire about the issues.

When we arrived at the rally, we were asked by the Romney campaign staff

to show our signs. We complied. We were then told by the Romney staff that no signs were allowed.

We were OK with that. If no signs are allowed, then no signs are allowed. Imagine our surprise when we saw other people bringing in signs and seeing pictures of the rally where people prominently displayed signs.

Can you understand our dismay and our feeling of being betrayed? Here is the contender for president of the United States, and his staff violates one of the most precious rights an American citizen has — the right to free speech.

We want to go back to Tuesday morning and take back our freedom and not let someone else control them, but we can't.

However, it's just not our rights that were violated. Tens of thousands of people with claims under EEOICPA lost their voice that day because their advocates’ rights were violated.

George and Terrie Barrie

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Comments

Michelle Hale 2 years, 6 months ago

You have to remember that Romney is and supported the NDAA that stands AGAINST the 1st amendment, and 5th amendment of our Constitution of the United States. He has state more than once that he supports this law. The NDAA very few people know about or even care yet it takes away the most valuable thing we have, due process. It was past by over 90 Senators on both sides and signed into law. So the fact that your right to speak out was taken, isn't that shocking. Romney doesn't care about the rights of everyday people only Corporate America, and keeping the common middle class under his thumb with no power. In truth Obama and Romney have far more in common that not. The NDAA sums it up for all of us. For those who read this. Google the NDAA laws and see what you think and ask why would you support anyone who past such a law. We have ONE senator here in Colorado that stood up against it. That was Udall. Wake up America, read and get out of TV and learn something. You are being fed total BS, and Romney is bought and sold by the rich and removed. He is the rich and removed. But that word removed also means YOUR rights as an American.

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Jason Phillips 2 years, 6 months ago

This is national politics in a nutshell - win at any cost. If you have to lie to a few people along the way, then so be it. It's a sad commentary on the state of affairs in Washington.

While denying a couple of signs certainly isn't a national issue - it makes you wonder what else Romney's campaign is willing to lie about in order to get elected.

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mocoobserve 2 years, 6 months ago

With the NDAA you have to ask yourself why would you be suspected of terrorism or suspected of being associated with entities of terrorism. They would not arrest or detain you unless you are participating in something you shouldn't. If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, quacks like a duck......it's a duck. If you associate with terrorists, I support your arrest, detention and whatever else they deem reasonable to punish you and discourage others from following suit. As far as the signs not being allowed, are you confident the other signs were approved by the staff or could they have been snuck in or not disclosed?

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Terrie Barrie 2 years, 6 months ago

"As far as the signs not being allowed, are you confident the other signs were approved by the staff or could they have been snuck in or not disclosed?"

I'm very confident that at least one sign was approved. I asked the woman who held the pink sign "Women for Romney" how she got her sign in, thinking that she snuck it in. She simply said "they" let her in with it.

Here's a link of photos. The pink sign is photo 31.

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Colette Erickson 2 years, 6 months ago

Even if the signed were "snuck" in, do you really think someone from the Romney staff wouldn't have gone and confiscated them - or ejected the sign holder - when they were seen by said staff, if they weren't allowed? Just another example of his hypocrisy and lack of character to pick and chose which signs he wanted in the crowd.

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WrestlinRockies 2 years, 6 months ago

As Much As I Dislike Romney....here is a message from Kyle Clark with Channel 9news in Denver....

It is common for campaigns to control the messages on signs at their events. On occasion, campaigns will hand out signs and will only allow those in the crowd, especially at big events like a convention. Other times, campaigns will screen signs to make sure there aren't messages that will embarass the candidate. As it is their event, they are allowed to do this.

As for the school district property, school property in Colorado is public property held in trust by individual school boards. The boards establish the policy for community use, so standards vary by district. Typically, partisan political organizations can use school property for a fee (similar to fee for use structures applied to religious organizations or a local non profits, like a Rotary club). The use of school property by a community group does not connote an endorsement, whether that group is a Lions club or a political campaign.

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Jason Phillips 2 years, 6 months ago

Two problems with that explanation WR -

1.) The main issue is that the campaign lied to Ms. Barrie and said all signs would be disallowed. Obviously there were a ton of Pro-Romney and Anti-Obama signs that made it into the event. It's one thing to disallow the sign and admit you are disallowing it because of its unfavorable content - they may have that right depending on where the event is being held. It's quite another to lie in order to avoid an issue.

2.) You can SAY that the use of a bus to display campaign rhetoric doesn't constitute an endorsement and that's half true because the district hasn't officially endorsed a candidate. But when pictures of the Pro-Romney signs start to pop up on the internet, displayed prominently next to "Moffat County School District," it becomes a symbolic endorsement for all intents and purposes. School buses should NOT be used for partisan events - or at minimum they should not be used as props for campaign slogans at partisan events. Transportation is one thing, signage is another.

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