I began this article thinking that it was interesting how all of the tables have turned with the loss of the presidency by the Republican Party. Yet after writing it, I see that things have remained pretty much the same.
Just a few short years ago, people opposed to George W. Bush found themselves having to protest outside of the view of the media at presidential functions. Their freedom of speech was limited at best. The Bush administration designated fenced in areas as "designated free speech zones" where protesters could exercise their constitutional right to assemble peaceably. [http://www.aclu.org/freespeech/protest/11418res20030923.html] Notably, they were outside of the view of cameras and made to feel more like prisons than venues for exercising their first amendment rights. To oppose the President was considered un-American and verged on treason. "America - Right or wrong." "America - Love it or leave it."
Notice that under a Democrat administration, not only are protesters welcome at events such as town hall meetings, nobody chastises them for bringing hand guns and assault rifles. That's right. Those who would seek to limit your first amendment rights have no qualms about stretching their second amendment rights under the guise of exercising those same rights that they would have you forfeit.
Do you remember the backlash against Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks when she voiced her opinion about President Bush? "We don't want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." [http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/3248ed2d-bada-41b5-a7b6-ac88faa1f1ac] Masses of Republicans were offended because the statement was considered rude and unpatriotic. [http://www.virtualubbock.com/NatalieSalonArticle.html] Diane Sawyer even went so far as to reply to Maines in an interview, "If you're going to criticize the president for his own decision, you'd better have your own." [ibid] And this was no isolated incident. Anyone who criticize the President's personal war in Iraq was derided publicly for not supporting the troops. [http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/09/27/bush.war.talk/] As a former member of the US military forces (two separate branches, I might add), I fully believe you can support the troops without supporting the policy.
But under a Democrat administration, it is no longer treasonous to criticize or even threaten the President. Take Idaho's Republican gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell for example.
A Republican candidate for governor of Idaho, Rex Rammell, was at a political barbecue last week when somebody brought up the tags used by wolf hunters, and then made a reference to killing the president of the United States.
“Obama tags?” Rammell replied, to laughter, according to an account in The Times-News of Twin Falls. “We’d buy some of those.” [http://egan.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/01/hunting-wolves-and-men/]
In defense of his statement, Rammell simply added, "Obama hunting tags was just a joke! Everyone knows Idaho has not jurisdiction to issue tags in Washington, D.C."
The attack on free speech from the ultra-right is unending. Yet they like to make it appear as if it is coming from the left. (Read my recent article about words banned in text books as an example of ultra-right wing spin.) They are not afraid to strain credulity in exercising their own right to free speech in condemnation of others while limiting the free speech of opposing views.
Now the ultra-right is launching a campaign to limit the President's exercise of these same rights. By calling it re-education and indoctrination, they seek to attack in any way imaginable the message that President Obama wishes to deliver which is simply "stay in school and don't drop out." Yet these are the same people who brought to school the exact same type of broadcasts from Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush. [http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_13264495] Clearly there is an ultra-right wing agenda. If the President is of their party, it's ok. If not, then he must be boycotted, silenced or assassinated.
There are obviously two America's at play here. Those who have the interests of the public at heart and those who would prefer to stifle dissension by any means necessary. Until extremists on both sides of the aisle can come together, there will not be any agreement or room for compromise. You can't negotiate with terrorists even if they are only self-proclaimed. [http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/rep-wally-herger-praises-right-wing-terror]