If you’re petitioning for small goverment issues, just expect to be harassed. Not only did the police try to intimidate petition gatherers for Loretta Nall in Alabama, the lovers of big government are trying a variety of different tactics against petitioners across the country. Here’s the scoop from National Review:
Across the country, lawsuits “” frivolous, time-sucking, and money-wasting “” are all the rage among the democracy-blocking set. In Maine, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Missouri, our partner groups have gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures “” and they’ve also been slapped with legal challenges based on little more than language technicalities.
Lawsuits, however, are just the beginning. A showdown is brewing in Nevada, where the AFL-CIO and state teachers unions have put some muscle behind an intimidation campaign against the Tax and Spending Control campaign. Reportedly paid by the hour, these “blockers” physically surrounded petitioners while shouting, screaming, and chasing away potential signers. The situation escalated last week, with petitioners reduced to pleading for a restraining order from a Nevada judge, who promptly ordered preschool-style rules “” “no touching, no yelling” “” to return order to the streets.
“Say you’re an elderly woman and you want to sign a petition “” you don’t have a chance,” says Bob Adney, who is leading the spending-cap campaign. “And if you’re a guy who’s 6’4” and 300 pounds, quite frankly, you might not have a chance either. These guys are surrounding petitioners eight to one at times, and they’re not pulling punches.”
What happens in Vegas, alas, doesn’t always stay there. Our partners in Missouri, Montana, Michigan, and Oklahoma have faced similar intimidation tactics, often at the hands of local unions and, in particular, public-education unions. The goal is often to get petitioners kicked out of malls and other high-traffic areas, or even arrested “” which is an interesting civics lesson indeed.
I guess it’s okay to petition for redress of grievances only if powerful special interest groups, which includes the government, agree with your message.