Thursday, December 25, 2003

removing the lint

Democracy is a messy affair. People don't agree. They have a right to make noise. In addition to keeping everybody on message, to use the language of propaganda, I mean public relations, dictatorships and totalitarian societies are also much neater when it comes to editing the national image.

Our democratic messiness often surfaces within the District of Columbia. Since 1995, the National Park Service has run a video in the basement of the Lincoln Memorial as part of an exhibit about the various protests and national debates that have occured at the monument and on the National Mall in front of it. It's mostly a collection of news reels of events such as protests and gatherings at the government's front door.

That film/video includes important civil rights struggles such as Marian Anderson's concert and of course Dr. King's famous I have a dream speech. The theme of the video, which I've seen a few times when visitors came to town to visit, is that Americans have felt that this was a space where they could speak out against their government, to make their voices heard on a wide number of public issues.

The video also included photos of gay and lesbian Americans who have protested there as well.

The Park Service has been under pressure from folks who don't like gay people to erase these pictures from the video. According to this story from Planet Out and Yahoo, the images will not be airbrushed out.

This has been around the blog world a few times, including at Andrew Sullivan, but I've finally gotten around to looking at the story. Scary to think they were were going to get away with this.

No comments: