My dear husband doesn't mail things very often, so he was surprised that his envelope full of bricks came back needing more postage. "No problem", I told him. "I'll run it in to the post office."
Was that a mistake. This is what I was met with at my local little post office:
I went inside with my little bundle of a bricks to mail, and I said "What's with the protesters outside?"
"Oh, they're always there, they just stand there."
This has been my post office for almost six years. I drive by this spot twice a day. I have never noticed anyone sitting outside protesting. And I've surely never seen such offensive posters, never. But the postal staff just brushed it off. No big deal.
I was furious. Burning. Infuriated. I marched myself out the door and right up to the young man staffing the table. "I am deeply offended that you are standing on this land that I pay for with such offensive posters of my president"
"It's my first amendment right, I have the right to be here."
"I support your right to protest as you will, but I believe it's wrong for me to be forced to look at this when I walk into a government establishment." I was seething, trying to be calm, knowing that this man is young and may never have lived anywhere but out little town, may just be influenced by hate-talk radio and the things he's absorbed in his few years. But my compassion meter was on about 2 and my infuriated meter was on about 55 million.
I went back to my house and got my camera, just so you could be infuriated, too. My middle son--yes the one who is a champion martial artist, insisted on coming with me just in case the guy jumped me. When I went back up and tried to take his materials, he stopped me. Some public service there, hunh?
And then I guess maybe he did start to feel ashamed or something, because he turned around and wouldn't let me take his picture any longer.
I checked in with my friend who knows about these things, and I was disappointed. He does have a right. The law is clear. The postal service is a semi private something that is administered by the government. He can be there unless there is a clear hazard to public safety.
The hazard to the public safety isn't in his table or his shiny dvds or books. It's in the culture of hate he's promoting, the culture of hate he's living. That is where the danger lies. And it is a clear and very real danger.