Free expression of your political views lies at the very center of American freedom. This means being able to distribute letters or newspapers, or to stand on the street corner and say your piece. Thus, I was less than impressed with the Orwellian-ly named "free speech zone" at the Democrat convention.
On the other hand, freedom of political speech also applies to the conventioners. Democrats and Republicans and Libertarians and Greens all have the right to free association, to come together and have their say.
Purposely disrupting and obstructing the other guy's rally is NOT free speech, but the opposite. Thus, civil libertarians should be less than impressed with the thousand plus jackasses insisting on getting themselves arrested for blocking traffic and throwing bottles at the NYC police and such during the Republican convention this week.
You should be even less impressed with those who trick their way into the convention itself to disrupt the proceedings. From the AP:
NEW YORK (AP) - AIDS demonstrators disrupted a Republican youth gathering on the floor of the party convention Wednesday, shortly after President Bush's twin daughters left the stage.
The incident occurred after Jenna and Barbara Bush introduced White House chief of staff Andrew Card. As he began speaking, about 10 protesters sitting in the crowd jumped up, blew whistles and began to chant, "Bush kills" and "Bush lies."
Card tried to continue speaking, but was drowned out and stopped as young participants in the morning event scuffled with the demonstrators. Police moved in to remove the protesters, including a young woman hoisted out by two officers - one at her shoulders and one at her knees.
At least one delegate was slightly injured. Suhr Daniel, 20, of Milwaukee, said he was punched in the head by a protester. He had a cut near his temple and the side of his face was reddened.