July 27, 2006

OUT OF THE MARGINS



Caption: Protestors assemble along Charleston's South Side Bridge. This photo courtesy of Evelyn Dortch, Direct Action Welfare Group. (El Cabrero forgot that cameras could be used on people.)

Only a few years ago, presidential visits to West Virginia were almost as common as total eclipses of the sun. Now they're pretty common.

It's no news either that a presidential visit often means protestors. Under the Bush administration, these are usually isolated and marginalized far from the scene.

What is news is that Charleston Mayor Danny Jones, a Republican and Vietnam veteran, changed all that.

When WV Patriots for Peace planned a protest along the route, Jones was quoted yesterday in the Charleston Gazette as saying "We're working very closely with that group," he said. "I know their leaders. I think I know what they want to do. I think we're going to find a place where they'll be contained but seen.

"The president, as I understand, tries not to go very many places by car for this very reason. We want to give them a place, at least in this city, where they can be seen and heard."

That's a welcome example of the Bill of Rights in action. Score a point for the public sphere.

GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED

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