Double standards – Presidential security

There is a painfully clear difference between the thicknesses of the security envelope that surrounded George W. and that which protects the current President. The recent presence of a protester with automatic weaponry at a Arizona rally at which Obama was speaking speaks volumes to how things have changed between the 43rd and 44th Commanders-in-Chief.

Here is some coverage of a 2002 Bush visit to (coincidentally) Arizona:

On a campaign swing through Arizona on September 27, President Bush was met by hundreds of protesters in both Flagstaff and Phoenix who addressed many issues but chiefly opposition to war. Reuters reported that, “As Bush addressed the Iraq situation in Flagstaff, a protester shouted out ‘What’s the real reason Mr. Bush — oil money?’ She was quickly led away.”

In Phoenix, police on horseback moved to reign in the protest crowd as it flowed off the sidewalks, provoking the arrest of six people, including legal observer Eleanor Eisenberg, Executive Director of the Arizona Civil Liberties Union.

And in Cincinnati:

When Bush delivered a major pitch for war in Cincinnati on October 7, up to 5,000 people protested outside the Museum Center while he spoke. When most of the crowd returned to nearby Laurel Park for a closing rally, a few hundred blocked the exit from the Museum Center. Police on horseback rode through the crowd to disperse it, and arrested six people by one account.

And here is what all the stylish folks are taking to protests where Obama is speaking.

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Why is this so? Are the Secret Service under orders to let rednecks be rednecks and let it ride? Have the rules concerning Presidential security changed – as in become laxer? I doubt it. Budget cutbacks?  I hesitate to pull the race card because I think that if anything, Obama’s race would guarantee him MORE security not less due to the overt and implied threats against him because of the colour of his skin.

According to a recently published book, The President’s Secret Service, by Robert Kessler, former President George W. Bush received 3,000 realistic threats a year. The author states threats against President Obama have increased 400%.

Here’s my theory: I think the president has given orders that the gun-totin’ rednecks be left alone so the Administration does not to appear too anti-gun in the eyes of the public. In America, to be anti-gun means that you are anti-American and by corollary, anti-freedom. It is enough of an uphill battle for Obama to avoid being bogged down in the partisan quagmire that is Washington D.C., let alone being tagged as actively anti-gun. Many swing areas that voted for him would swing back to the Republicans on that issue alone.

What a marked different between my country and that to the south. Many in the United States – helped by an unbelievably powerful gun lobby – live by credos that were set down hundreds of years ago by their nation’s founders. The anti-Obama caste likes to use this national allegiance to anachronisms and myths to its utmost advantage.

Last week, a man with a gun strapped to his leg held a sign outside an Obama town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., that read: “It’s time to water the tree of liberty.”

“The tree of liberty has to be watered with the blood of patriots” is a quote from Thomas Jefferson – a long dead and largely irrelevant man in the modern world.  Calling for martyrdom worked in a world of extreme violence, inequity, barbarism and Empire that was the 18th century; a world without a means to affect change without taking up arms. This world does still exist in many less-developed nations in places like Africa or the Middle East; where America is currently fighting wars against peoples that believe in martyrdom as fervently as did Jefferson. But that world is no longer relevant in 21st century America…as much as the right wing nuts would like its citizenry to believe it otherwise.

But what about the Fifth Estate, you say? That pillar of unbiased commentary that provides the necessary context to be used by the citizenry to make their own judgements?

Ah, yes.

America – grow up and smarten up.

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