GOP state legislative members all across the United States are devising legal methods to regulate dissent in the public sphere. Republicans are increasingly facing rising public ire against President Donald J. Trump. The last time the protests were this big was during the time of the Vietnam War.
Against constitutional freedoms
A majority of the bills, however, were filed prior to Trump being elected as president. If critics are to be believed, these bills impinge on the constitutional freedoms of the American people. These bills now have a fresh impetus in the middle of nationwide demonstrations to protest against the immigration ban by Trump in front of airports and global women’s marches. Protesters stopped a speech to be given by a conservative writer in University of California, Berkeley.
The desperation of the Republicans is palpable. The last few months have seen a minimum of 10 bills tabled to restrict protests. In an extreme case of bill making, one state- North Dakota- has considered the introduction of a provision which will protect motorists who unintentionally kill protestors while the latter blocks roads. Doug Ericksen, a Republican Senator from Washington State, supports the drafting of a bill which will punish those who supposedly “disrupt the [American] economy”. Similar measures are being mulled by Dan Bishop of North Carolina, who calls for laws which will imprison people who willfully intimidates ex-government officials. In an interview, Bishop said that some of the activities of the protestors cross the decency barrier. He said that although protesters are entitled by the constitution to express views, they do not have the freedom go threaten any kind of violence.
President Trump has expressed disgust with such dissent. In his trademark Social Media muscle flexing, the leader of the free world Tweeted that he may withhold federal funds earmarked for Berkeley. He alleged that the protests were made up of professional anarchists, paid protesters and thugs who are actively trying to scuttle the will of those who wants to make America great again by voting Trump to power.
Republicans are trying their utmost to curb protests at the state level. A number of proposed bills bar demonstrators from committing illegal acts through the wearing of robes or masks. In Iowa, a person or persons who disrupt traffic can get five years imprisonment. Similar punishment awaits those who interfere with commerce activities. The Minnesota administration is trying to bring a law which will keep roads clear of all protesters.