Wednesday 19 September 2007

Can Black Rod Prevent Tasered Students?

International websites, and American TV news have all covered the incident where a student was tasered by American police while resisting officers who tried to prevent him asking a long rambling political question, even after John Kerry being asked the question said he would answer.

Whatever your take on this particular situation, this is the continuation of bad trend that started before designation "safe protest zones" well away from the political figuring being protested to.

So how can Black Rod save the day? The answer lies in the power of political ritual and ceremony to keep certain ideas alive.
Purloining freely from Wikipedia:

State Opening of Parliament

Black Rod is best known for his part in the ceremonies surrounding the State Opening of Parliament and the Throne speech. He summons the Commons to attend the speech and leads them to the Lords. As part of the ritual, as Black Rod approaches the doors to the chamber of the House of Commons to make his summons, they are slammed in his face. This is to symbolise the Commons’ independence of the Sovereign. Black Rod then strikes the door three times with his staff, and in reply to the challenge "Who is there?" answers "Black Rod". He is then admitted and issues the summons of the monarch to attend. This ritual is derived from the attempt by Charles I of England to arrest five members in 1642, in what was seen as a breach of privilege, though strictly the King was entitled to enter the chamber. After that incident, the House of Commons has maintained its right to question the right of the monarch’s representative to enter their chamber, though they can not bar him from entering with lawful authority.

The ceremony maintains the right.

From this day forth, a new tradition (like the famous Slashdot "first post") must begin.

The first question asked at any political rally, or convention must be a ceremonial question:"The police aren’t going to arrest or taser us if we ask unpopular questions, are they?"

Let the asking of this ceremonial question be offered to distinguished guests as a token of politeness, or to student body presidents, or the rotary club president, or the mayor.

And then the police, or the host will give the ceremonial answer: "No, not even if you are courteous or impolite, but we respectfully ask you to be courteous and polite to our guests and others present".

Maybe the questions need improvement, but the main thing is that it happens.

Make it happen, have the suggestion posted in every student handbook and newspaper, have it asked every time.

The maintenance of your liberty depends on the regular performance of this new ceremony.

New Lyrics

Lyrics to "He’s not Heavy. He’s my brother", anyone want to make a recording?

To the tune of "He ain’t heavy"

I may be wrong
with many a foolish thought
that leads me to who
  knows where
who knows where
If I’m wrong
show me that you care
please don’t taze me, please my brother

I hope you know
I welcome your point of view
don’t have to agree
to hear
or to share

for I know
the law preserves our liberty
please don’t taze me, please me brother

If I’m learning
  at all
I’m learning
  with sadness
that every tyrants heart
is-a filled with the badness
and hate
for free opinion

it’s a long long road
I fear there is no return
and we’re on the way
to hell
were nearly there

and the law
shouldn’t weigh us down at all
please don’t taze me, please me brother

( please my brother

  please don’t taze me

  please my brother

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