Sunday, May 29, 2011

Don't Dance With The Stars At The Jefferson Memorial?

In fact, don't dance at all at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC, as it will likely lead to your arrest, as it did yesterday. Dance as a form of protest is a growing trend, however.

Courts and media have been reporting on the dancing at the Jefferson Memorial dating back to 2008, when some folks were arrested for dancing at the site late one evening. A lawsuit brought by one dancer was rejected in mid-May of this year by the D.C. Circuit Court, in Oberwetter v. Hilliard, because current law has something very specific to offer about public performance and demonstrations at that particular location. (video of the April 2008 dancing is here)

The inside of the dome at the Memorial is designated a non-public forum, which means no protests or demonstrations of any kind are allowed. And one does not always need a permit to protest at the nation's capital, groups of 25 or less are allowed to express opinions with no permit. But see, the rules currently in place, as I said, designate the interior of the Jefferson Memorial dome as a non-public forum - except of course when folks are allowed to use it as just that for an annual Easter service or to kick-off the Cherry Blossom Festival.

But the dancing is surely an organized protest - since a website called Thomas Jefferson Dance Party is geared at promoting a very specific kind of protest at a very specific place.

Oh, America, can't we just dance?

No, apparently.

-- Dancing to protest about union status at a Target store (dancers are designated 'liberals"!! oh no!)

-- Students dance to protest college cost increases

-- Dance-Ins are planned for Apple computer stores next weekend

-- a Google timeline of dancing and protesting (looks to me like both are on the rise)

Can you shake yer groove thing in America just because you want to?

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