Peaceful Freedom of Expression Punished
By a Permanent No-Trespass Order at Sturgis Library!
Open Letter to the Staff at Sturgis Library (Part III)
An integral part of fascism is the expectation that one does not criticize the leader without severe consequences.
Unbeknownst to the library brass, this validates everything you have posted about them. They inadvertently proved your point by banning you from the library! As you said, how hypocritical for them to celebrate banned books week...then they ban you! Perhaps they became so enraged with the irrefutable logic [in the two open letters], they resorted to the only tactic they had at their disposal.
A number of you have been quite helpful and friendly with my regard. I thank you for that and certainly hold no hostility towards any of you. I send this because you should be informed and because you are adults.
What I do, in my own way and in my own capacity, is fight for the First Amendment and democracy. The other day I was verbally issued a permanent no-trespass order regarding Sturgis Library without warning and without any due process whatsoever by your director, Lucy Loomis. Yet I had not been a “public nuisance,” was not making noise or insulting and threatening staff or patrons. But I did express several critical opinions in two Open Letters to the library directors in the Clams system in a last ditch effort to try to get just one of them to subscribe to The American Dissident, a 501 c3 nonprofit journal devoted to literature, democracy, and dissidence, published in Barnstable.
No threats were made! However, criticism regarding the egregious hypocrisy of Sturgis’ collection development policy was included. Can it really be true that in a democracy one can be barred from a public space receiving taxpayer funding for simply expressing ones opinions… in writing? In Loomis’ public space, the answer is yes.
My principle criticism, by the way, was with regards the following:
A. The library’s own policy stipulates “Libraries should challenge censorship […].”
B. Sturgis banned my flyers last year.
A. The library’s own policy stipulates “Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view”.
B. Sturgis banned The American Dissident “point of view” and now even banned me for expressing a point of view in writing.
Can any of you perceive the hypocrisy? Hopefully, one or several of you can. After all, it cannot be more evident. You can read those two letters, as well as the replies of the only two people who responded, library trustee Dan Santos and library director Ginny Hewlett, on The American Dissident blogsite: wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com. You will note their responses did not even address the above points. Santos’ response was a simple ‘how dare you criticize us!’ Hewlett’s respsonse was a warning to her colleagues to be careful if they responded because it would become part of the public record. Could any of the librarians understand the points made? If they did, why didn’t they respond? Or were they perhaps not proponents of freedom of expression, as I suspect, and, for some reason, were compelled to maintain a false front in order to obtain public funding?
Why are the librarians of Cape Cod so against supporting a local press like mine, devoted to democracy and dissidence? Why instead do they all seem to favor purchasing DVDs, rife with gratuitous violence and drug abuse? “We’re family-friendly” had said Loomis. Yeah, tell me about it! And since when did democracy and freedom of expression become family unfriendly? And since when did punishing a senior citizen resident of Barnstable like me for simply expressing his opinions in writing become family friendly?
Can Sturgis Library really be so scornful of democracy and its cornerstones, freedom of speech and vigorous debate? No less than three cops stood with Loomis, as if I were some sort of most-wanted criminal. Is Loomis trying to frighten me into silence? If so, she’s doing a pretty good job. After all, there’s nothing more frightening than some of those cops. So, there I was quietly working on the Internet, per usual. One of the cops even grabbed, twisted, and held my arm while he frisked me because I’d simply asked why three cops were necessary and said I didn’t carry a weapon. Nice way to treat a local senior citizen, Officer Foley! Are cops permitted to search a person, not suspected of anything, without a warrant on Cape Cod? I was not resisting arrest. I was not put under arrest.
Why did Loomis refuse at my request to hand me a written document stipulating the no-trespass order and reason for it? Is there simply no accountability where she is concerned? How is that possible in this day and age?
As a taxpaying citizen living in Barnstable, I am fully outraged. And it appears that there is nothing at all I can do. There is no where to even lodge a complaint. One of the cops told me to go to Town Hall. Well, I did that. But Town Hall told me it has no jurisdiction over the libraries and that I should go to the police station or contact trustee Elie Claus. If I had known that the local library in Barnstable was so anti-democracy, I would not have moved here. Now, I am not even permitted to use the public library in my own neighborhood… forever... and, worse still, am forced to pay taxes to support it. For me, what Loomis did is still quite unbelievable, though evidently I should have known better for last year she had actually banned my flyers at Sturgis and even banned my mentioning that to any of you. Well, I did obey her commands, that is, until this email.
How can you possibly support a person who does not respect freedom of speech (i.e., the right to criticize publicly- funded organizations with impunity)? Sure, maybe she’s been nice to you. But that is immaterial to the question. What is wrong with a person who feels compelled to punish anybody who criticizes her? Shouldn’t a director have more spine than that? Indeed, how did a person with such a fragile ego and little-caesar complex become director in the first place?
Finally, most Americans are undeserving of the freedoms accorded to them because most will not dare stand up, alone if need be, to openly support freedom of speech and vigorous debate whenever suppressed. The spirit of democracy demands that the speech you hate the most should be the speech that you will fight to permit and protect. Too many citizens remain ignorant of that prime tenet. Too many citizens easily rationalize inaction and willfully adorn the muzzle. For people living under blood-thirsty dictatorships, that’s understandable. But in America, people shouldn’t be wearing muzzles. Dogs should be wearing them…
Thank you for your attention… and good luck working in Lucy’s Little Fascist Fiefdom!