Before you read my comments, born out of a genuine and deeply held sense of outrage, check out this report from Channel 9 tonight.
Apparently, one Windham police officer needs to take a course in basic civics. The Legislature enacts laws; the executive branch (that would include police) is empowered only to enforce laws passed by the legislative branch.
Police are not entitled to dream up laws which they might wish to enforce and then go about harassing people with their view of what laws should be.
When police enter that realm, we leave democracy behind and enter the state of fascism.
In fact, police making up their own laws is the hallmark of my definition of the fasicst state.
That's why I'm more outraged than usual that a Windham police officer would approach a Marilinda Garcia for Congress volunteer and tell her that she needs a police permit before she may go door to door distributing campaign literature.
Of course, no such law exists, not in Amherst and nowhere else in this great state.
The Legislature passes laws, and I can't imagine any Legislature, so dedicated to the principles of free speech and free association, ever passing a law demanding that campaign workers register with police.
The entire idea reeks of fascism.
Not only does the Windham Police Department owe an apology to the Garcia campaign worker, but the officer who chose to make up such a law and attempt to enforce it needs to be severely reprimanded.
Suspended? No, probably not.
A more fitting punishment would be to require the officer to complete a basic course in American government.
Way back in ninth grade, when I took civics, I learned that police simply cannot make up laws as they go along.
Any policeman worth his or her salt should know the laws before he or she attempts to enforce them.
Were I the Garcia campaign worker, I fear I would not have reacted as calmly as she did to the fascist police officer trying to tell her to register with police. I would proably have expressed so much outrage, I would probably be writing this from behind bars (do they have wifi in county jails?).
I would have reacted with two words, actually with either of two sets of two words.
One begins with an F and ends with a "you".
The other two words are German and I would probably get in as much trouble uttering them to the fascist police officer as I did when I uttered the on the House floor two years ago.
I was demonized for opposing totalitarianism then, but I stand by what I said.
We must fight fascism wherever we find it, and clearly we've found it in Windham.
If we fail to fight it, then the fascists can indeed, "Hail victory" (translate it yourself) for having quashed our democratic principles.
Nothing I write here should be taken as an endorsement for Garcia; it's not even my congressional district, and I remain strictly neutral in that race. I simply feel the need to oppose fascism whenever it rears its ugly head.