by Rick Spisak
It was sadly another day, with news of another school shooting ten dead, ten wounded, I was mindful of this as I entered the eight foot tall fenced-in security zone that is a contemporary school site.
The phones did not work in the office, Ms Adams was not contacted, nor was I escorted to the location of the media room, where my lecture was offered, I provide this detail to illustrate, my stroll though the windowless buildings that make up today’s “secure” academic campus.
The student representative of the Port St. Lucie community were a wonderful mix of colors, sizes and were broadly attentive.
I assured them as I do every audience, that I respect their time, and will use as little of it as possible, and to a useful informative end.
I took pains to draw parallels to their own experience in citizenship, monitoring, tracking, throttling, market place advertising impact, and access to (slanted biased and psychological/emotional manipulation.) Much of which they already know first hand.
It was from the caliber of questions that I took the most solace. They had questions about the effectiveness of contacts with high government officials, I reminded them that citizenship was not a quadrennial activity, and “We the People” was only true if by their active participation they made it true.
When they lamented that the deck was stacked against them, I reminded them that civic activists and human rights advocates had stood together against their king, and renounced monarchy in the face of not just the most significant maritime power of the time, but the timeless quivering example of cowed people huddling under a hereditary monarchy. I reminded them that their own great great grandparents had put an end to the grinding toil and danger of child labor, and had demanded successfully for those freshly liberated children, universal free public schools.
I reminded them of the radical idea (put into action by Ben Franklin) that books should be available in free libraries and must not be the province of the ultra-rich who could afford to spend thousand on great libraries for themselves but to every man, woman and child – at one time that was a heretical idea. (Visit a library I urged them)
In the end they asked questions about the dark web, and identity tracking and search engines and what can still be done. I informed them that we were not discussing a skirmish, that they could expect to easily win, but that this was part of the long war toward respect, dignity and independence for every human being.
I reminded them that “We the People” was more than an elegant turn of phrase but a promise. And that promise “we the people”, would not stand idly by and watch women being mistreated, or our black and brown sisters and brothers to be mistreated.
We are most definitely in this together, and must pull together. That our immigrant friends and neighbors must be defended, for we are all defended and all strengthened by those promises in the first ten Amendments.
I closed urging them to read those ten promises, and give them life. My fifty years of protest for humanity would soon enough be at an end, but we leave it to them, to defend the future. We need them to defend, their children and their grand children.
I got the best, loudest round of applause, I’d ever received.
I did my best for you, Treasure Coast ACLU.