It is not supposed to happen in America where we value free speech and proudly revel in our history of men and women standing up and speaking to their elected representatives. But…once again, just last night, as they did in June, Congressman Steve Chabot, his staff and security team made sure that there could be no genuine human interaction or spoken question from the audience or any recorded documentation of what was said. And this occurred in a public meeting, in a public place, conducted by a public official, who while speaking to the public refused over 100 people who disagreed with him the opportunity to speak. And he had the police there to physically enforce his own private rules for public discourse.
Last night it was supposed ‘security reasons” that they again not only banned citizen speech, but the photographing and filming of the Congressman speaking as well. Chabot’s security team enlisted the help of the on-duty Cincinnati Police (car # 05313) to enforce this policy with the threat of arrest and the actual confiscation of two video cameras until the conclusion of the meeting.
Dismal exercises such as this must leave his constituents bewildered, thinking they had stumbled into an anti-democratic nightmare where authorities dictate appropriate speech in public places and seize personal property at the request of the elected officials. These policies simply cannot stand legal scrutiny nor the smell test of any citizen interested in an honest and open discussion of public policy issues that impact the lives of their families.