Today’s Thoughtful Thursday is a big SHAME ON YOU to the city council of Berkeley, California which in a 6-3 decision stated that a Marine recruiting station “is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders.” For more on this, you can click here or also click here.
There is no question that peaceful protest is protected by the First Amendment and the right to free speech. The City Council of Berkeley has the right to state its opposition to the war. But in doing so, they have trampled on the rights of the Marines to do something which is legal — to recruit new Marines. Worse yet, they have insulted the men and women who serve and die for this country so that we might have the gift of free speech.
Facing a storm of backlash, two of the City Council members have issued an open letter, which you can read by clicking here. Despite that open letter, the San Jose Mercury News provided the following quote from Capitelli:
“I would prefer they recruit somewhere else, but they have a constitutional and legal right to be here. . . . If they decide to be here, then there are actions (protesters) can take, and the Marines will have to decide whether that’s an acceptable price to pay to be in Berkeley. That’s their decision to make, but not the city council’s decision.”
The City Council seems to forget that free speech is a right that comes with a duty — to act responsibly. They also seem to forget that the right to free speech does not mean that they are free from the repercussions of that speech.
I, for one, will make it a point to never set foot in Berkeley again.