Letter: Romney staff denied freedom of speech
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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Seven miles along the side of Highway 318 as it passes through Sand Wash Basin will shortly be the location for a new fence.