Today the Washington Post has an update on an important First Amendment issue (important for a few different First Amendment reasons).
Rives Grogan is a former pastor at New Beginnings Christian Church in Los Angeles. He climbed a tree during the inauguration of President Obama this year and shouted religious messages about abortion. By all accounts, including his own, the protester was zealous and was a distraction.
He was arrested and — no joke — exiled from Washington, D.C. Honest.
Now for the update:
Rives Grogan is allowed back into the District.
The protester who took to a tree to shout antiabortion comments during President Obama’s inauguration in January had been banned by a D.C. judge from setting foot in the city.
But that order was amended during a hearing Monday. The revised order says the tenacious Grogan may roam widely among us while awaiting trial but must avoid a clearly defined area on Capitol Hill that encompasses the Capitol grounds, the House and Senate office buildings, the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress.
The barring of Grogan from the city after his five hours in the tree touched off a vigorous debate over free speech and political dissent in the nation’s capital.
Now, does anyone else find the “us vs. him” approach of that third paragraph to be odd? I can’t stand how political reporters suspect “othering” in, for example, every single pronouncement a Republican makes about President Obama but there’s something about this construction here that I find odd.
Part of it is that I have no idea why the reporter is using the first person plural in a news story. But more than that, “we” are just as much those people who get arrested and annoy people with our political pronouncements and religious views as “we” are the people who don’t, right?
I’m not sure I like the idea that “we” are better or set apart from the people who find themselves in court or otherwise in the crosshairs of government.
Couldn’t this just be avoided by avoiding the first person? Particularly on hot topics like free speech, religious expression, abortion rights, etc.?