Saturday, November 19, 2016

Right to Petition, The Gag Rule against anti-slavery petitions, and race baiting Donald Trump. UPDATE: UPDATE2

The right to petition is an ancient one among English speaking peoples. 


In America it is a right guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.
Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievance. (Bold face added.)
The right to petition goes back centuries. It has British origins. Blackstone's Commentaries, published in 1765-69, states that the right to petition the king or parliament was a "right appertaining to every individual."

The Declaration of Independence listed as one of the reasons to declare independence was King George III of England response to the petition of the colonists.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

I think Donald Trump has answered the Hamilton cast's petition with injury by misrepresenting their petition to Pence as as harassment.

The Bill of Rights of 1689, an Act of Parliament of England, set out the right of subjects to petition the king, and held that prosecutions for such petitioning were illegal.

The Petition of Right in 1628 written by a committee headed by Sir Edward Coke and given to Charles I is still a part of liberties of the British people and shows further an example of this ancient right to petition.

Indeed the right to petition is held to be developed out of Clause 61 of the Magna Carta of 1215 which provided for the application and observation of the charter by twenty-five of the barons. This is that they could petition that the Magna Carta be observed, but it was restricted to 25 barons. However, it was a germ of an idea that would grow.


The infamous exception to the right of petition is the notorious Gag Rule of 1836. Proslavery members of the House of Representatives got this passed in 1836 which suppressed the discussion of anti-slavery petition in the House of Representatives.

Quick read the web page, link shown below, since it might be taken down during an administration by a person who doesn't understand or respect the right to petition. It gives a history of the notorious Gag Rule.

It caused an outrage at that time since it was the denial of an ancient right of petition. Persons who might not have much opinion about slavery were outraged by this. It alerted the general public that slave power was a threat to freedom for everyone. It greatly aided the abolitionist movement.


Hamilton is a Broadway play about American Revolutionary hero Alexander Hamilton.

It won eleven Tony awards including Best Musical.

It is notable for casting a great many African Americans. It has done wonders for generating interest in the history of the American Revolution and early American history.

This is a video of Bradon Victor Dixon addressing Vice President-Elect Mike Pence.

You can see that it is respectful and thoughtful. This is the statement read by Dixon:

Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical.’ We really do,” Dixon said to further applause. “We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Again, we truly thank you truly for seeing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations.

Also, in theaters it is not all unusual for a theater goer to be addressed by someone on the stage.

It is our ancient liberty to petition elected officials.


Donald Trump could have just ignored it. Or he could have stated that he and his administration welcome input from the American public.

Indeed, normally the smart thing to do would be to ignore it or say input was welcomed and the whole thing would disappear in a news cycle. This would be the smart thing to do unless you had an agenda which would be served by responding otherwise.

What Donald Trump chose to do instead was to  misrepresent this petition as harassment and demanded an apology from the Hamilton cast.

Trump states in a tweet on Twitter: "The cast of Hamilton was very rude to a very good man" and demanded an apology.

What I think is really happening here is that Donald Trump might be spoiling for a fight with African Americans to get support from a portion of his base of supporters. Brandon Victor Dixon is African American.

With Donald Trump's choice of Stephen K. Bannon, former executive director of Breitbart, which publishes pro-Confederate articles, and selection of U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, who defended Southern Partisan magazine, we are getting a good idea of what type of administration we face.

Breitbart is trying to push the idea that Pence was indeed harassed.

Perhaps Donald Trump is not prepared to get talked back to by African Americans and just  reacted.

I think we need to be prepared to defend our liberties. You might say it can't happen here. Well Trump happened and who thought that would happen?

UPDATE: Trump is continuing his denunciations of the Hamilton cast Sunday 11/20/2016.

He also is upset with the show Saturday Night Live.

I don't understand why Trump wants to get engaged in a debate with Saturday Night Live. It brings attention to the satire of him. He is making his opponents attack on him news. Millions, perhaps tens of millions will view this SNL skit because it is news that otherwise wouldn't have.

I see that the SNL skits involving Trump have had over 20,000,000 views.

He has also probably extended the life of the Hamilton play and given it a tremendous amount of publicity and given it a minor role in history.


Trump supporter is drunk and at the Hamilton play in Chicago.

Theater in Toronto named Hamilton is object of Trump supporters ire.

Then there is this racist tirade


They really do. Here are some examples.

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