A Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone of Democracy

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A FORUM FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND VIGOROUS DEBATE, CORNERSTONES OF DEMOCRACY
[For the journal (guidelines, focus, etc.), go to www.theamericandissident.org ].
Encouraged censorship and self-censorship seem to have become popular in America today. Those who censor others, not just self, tend to favor the term "moderate," as opposed to "censor" and "moderation" to "censorship." But that doesn't change what they do. They still act as Little Caesars or Big Brother protectors of the thin-skinned. Democracy, however, demands a tough populace, not so easily offended. On this blog, and to buck the trend of censorship, banning, and ostracizing, comments are NEVER "moderated." Rarely (almost NEVER) do the targets of these blog entries respond in an effort to defend themselves with cogent counter-argumentation. This blog is testimony to how little academics, poets, critics, newspaper editors, cartoonists, political hacks, cultural council apparatchiks, librarians et al appreciate VIGOROUS DEBATE, cornerstone of democracy. Clearly, far too many of them could likely prosper just fine in places like communist China and Cuba or Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Russia.

More P. Maudit cartoons (and essays) at Global Free Press: http://www.globalfreepress.org

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Barnstable Village Cultural District

The following is an American Dissident broadside, which I handed out in front of Sturgis Library on October 10th during its Celebration of Kurt Vonnegut.  90% or more of those arriving refused to take one.  The cartoon on Vonnegut below was part of the broadside. 

What is the point of confronting ambulating brick walls like the 90%?  That question I have to ask myself every time I stand alone protesting against local corrupt pillars of the community.  Sure, I know it is 99% unlikely that I’ll meet anyone even remotely interested in the free speech issues I evoke.  No matter.  During the protests, I often have interesting thoughts and obtain grist for my mill of creativity. 

At the library, the arrived like dignitaries to a gala.  But dignitaries of what?  Bourgeois conformity and propriety?   How sad it all was.  Nobody was willing to focus on the facts I presented.  Nobody gave a shit.  The common reaction is to scorn and mock the rare person who dares question and challenge  such people. 

Barnstable is a town dominated by an elite of stepford wives and husbands, a representative microcosm of the nation.  They are why I do not love America...  


Vonnegut’s Clapboard Tomb…
And Its Gravediggers of Liberty

—An Open Letter to the Apathetic, Easily Offended, and Ignorant Citizens of Barnstable—
It really is a sorry kind of person who makes it to the top.
        —Kurt Vonnegut

     Kurt Vonnegut called Sturgis Library a “clapboard tomb,” upon quitting his job as library trustee.  A tomb, of course, is a place for the dead.  Has Sturgis gotten any better since Vonnegut’s time in Barnstable?  Experience tells me it’s actually gotten a lot worse.  Lucy Loomis, its director, is totally unaccountable and totally autocratic.  Upset her fiefdom with a dash of freedom of expression and be prepared for permanent punishment, which is precisely what happened to me in June 2012. 

     My speech crime consisted of an open letter published on my blog site and sent to the directors of the Clams Library System of Cape Cod, not one of whom responded.  Not even director Ann Speyer, who lectures on censorship and book banning, gave a damn.  Only Sturgis Library trustee and Loomis boyfriend Dan Santos responded, though indirectly, dismissing as “intellectual masturbation” my argument that Loomis was a hypocrite regarding her written collection development statement that ”libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view.”  Loomis and not one other library director in the system would subscribe to The American Dissident (only $20), published in Barnstable and presenting a viewpoint at antipodes to that of Poetry Magazine to which Sturgis subscribes.  I’d even offered a free subscription, but Loomis rejected it, thus proscribing the points of view of all those published in it… permanently. 

     Less than one week after that open letter was disseminated, Loomis and three cops approached me while I was peacefully sitting alone in a room at Sturgis, as I’d been doing almost daily for about two years.  There, Loomis said she was permanently banning me.  No warning had ever been issued.  Off I went… a tad angry!  Loomis and later trustee Ted Lowry refused to provide me with a written statement regarding the action and reason for it.  Nine months later the State Secretary of Records forced them to open their records to public scrutiny, so that finally I could read what had been written about me.  Democracy in action! 

     Due process?  We no need no stinkin’ due process!  That is Sturgis Library’s true motto.  Would Vonnegut have embraced it?  Did he embrace it?  Imagine no possibility of due process was offered!  Imagine Loomis having the audacity to deem me a public danger, arguing:  Because of his behavior when the police were here they almost arrested him—he can go from calm to extremely agitated in a matter of seconds.  So l believe this is the correct decision for the safety of the staff and public.”  That was the only damning thing written in the documents made public.  Notice it is an aberrant after-the-fact rationale and, why two years later, has not one staff member been threatened or harmed by me, if indeed I were such a potential danger?  Of course, I have no history at all of violence or of making threats.  How many others like Loomis protect their fragile selves in layers of self-serving deceit and ignorance of democracy, including the Supreme Court (Tinker v. Des Moines Sch. Dist.) argument that “in our system, undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression.”  Trustees Ted Lowry, Sue Angus, John Ehret, Colin Campbell, and Mike Downs, and others who’ve made it to the top, seem unable to comprehend that America’s greatness lies in her unique FIRST AMENDMENT, not in political correctness!  Any departure from absolute regimentation may cause trouble,” noted the Court, “any variation from the majority's opinion may inspire fear.” Thus, my speech crime inspired fear and caused Loomis emotional trouble. 

     The Barnstable Patriot (Noah Hoffenberg) and Cape Cod Times (Paul Pronovost), to this day, refuse to publish anything regarding the above.  Clearly those papers are not independent!  My very civil rights today are being denied in Barnstable because I have been permanently barred from attending any cultural or political events held at my neighborhood library, you know, that “clapboard tomb.”  Imagine that I was not permitted to attend Speyer’s lecture on Banned Books Week! Imagine not one community pillar gives a damn, not Town Manager Tom Lynch, nor Town Attorney Ruth Weil, town councilor Ann Canedy, state reps Cleon Turner and Brian Mannal, who’d proclaimed the matter a civil rights issue, was going to help, then didn’t (yes, vote for Mannal!), not local human rights commissar John Reed, nor artists and poets of Robert M. Nash’s Cultural Council of Cape Cod, not the Barnstable Village Civic Association, the writers of Nancy Rubin Stuart’s Cape Cod Writers Center, the instructors at CCCC, including Dan McCullough, John French, and Sarah Polito, not PEN New England, the ACLUM, etc., etc.    

     Now, would Vonnegut have been on their side too?  Surely, none of his living family members and friends give a damn.  “I don’t buy it!” snapped one Sturgis loyalist a few weeks ago.  And how shamefully easy it is for her willfully ignorant ilk to dismiss incontrovertible facts, like those presented above, and the very principles of democracy 

 

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