Eric Lee, Poulsbo
Protest bill goes against democracy
Protesting is a right, a privilege and an obligation in the United States.
The Tea Party — the original one in 1773 — protested the British government taxing the new colonies in America without having any colonial representation in British law making. Samuel Adams was one of the culprits who tossed an entire shipment of tea into Boston Harbor. This was a catalyst of the American Revolution.
Had the British prevailed Sam Adams and the other perpetrators would have been hung. Instead, our forefathers kicked off a grand experiment in democracy.
Washington Republican state Sen. Doug Ericksen proposes a bill to impose felony punishment for public protest.
There are already penalties when protests step beyond the existing law. If protesters damage property they can be prosecuted. If individuals are injured the perpetrators can face felony charges.
This legislation proposes penalties for “economic terrorism.” If a business’s profit margin is threatened protesters would face felony charges.
This legislation would allow capitalist interest to trump a long-held right of Americans: to protest unsafe working conditions, to protest atrocities against minorities, to demonstrate for a working wage, to seek equality, to call attention to threats to our environment, to defy onerous law and provide the catalyst for change. Protest does interfere with business and commerce on occasion. The Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 and protests against the Vietnam War certainly did.
Legislation that seeks additional punishment for protesters is not needed and would do more to benefit commercial and corporate interests. Please contact our legislators to discourage support of Sen. Ericksen’s legislation.