When was the last time you were at a Dance Party? If your name is Adam Kokesh, the answer has become obvious. The Dance Party at TJ’s has made international news as an Iraq War Veteran was body slammed by police on Memorial Day weekend for “dancing at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial”.
A relevant fact:
Thomas Jefferson was known as the “Dancemaster in Chief” according to the Washington Post.
“Jefferson had long been fond of dancing — he was a fiddler and used to play duets with that other Virginia-born Founding Father, Patrick Henry. He was known to play his violin for parties at the White House. At one Christmas bash there in 1805, the president — a leader through and through — became Dancemaster in Chief by fiddling for the dancing of his six young grandchildren and 100 of their friends.
And why not? Dancing, Jefferson wrote, “is a healthy exercise, elegant and very attractive for young people.”
Let’s look at the concept here. People are being arrested for dancing at the memorial to the “Dancemaster in Chief”. I think that Thomas Jefferson has rolled over in his grave at this point, as well as expressed sentiments toward the police state mentality which is attempting to “break the spirit of the Constitution.” The Daily KOS has the following statement:
“I spent six years of my life in the military ensuring that America stayed safe and FREE meaning that every square inch of this country should be a free speech zone.”
Here’s another relevant fact:
“A permit is required for a demonstration in the park by 26 or more people. Demonstrations by fewer than 26 people are permissible if all conditions required to obtain a permit are met. There is a general prohibition by law against demonstrations at the Jefferson Memorial except for “the official annual commemorative Jefferson birthday ceremony.”
The last time that I checked my math, 18 people dancing is fewer than 26. It has been determined that the Jefferson Memorial is NOT a public forum by U.S. District Judge John Bates. It seems that Judge Bates stated:
“A prohibition on expressive activities in a nonpublic forum does not violate the First Amendment if it is viewpoint neutral and is ‘reasonable in light of the use to which the forum is dedicated,’” Bates wrote. “Here, the ban on demonstrations at the Jefferson Memorial satisfies these requirements.”
I will not focus on my obvious outrage that the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, a building built with tax dollars during FDR’s New Deal, has been considered a “nonpublic forum” and will instead focus on the wording of the law. Is dancing at the memorial of the “Dancemaster and Chief” not “reasonable in light of the use to which the forum is dedicated”? Let me ask that again. IS DANCING AT THE MEMORIAL OF THE “DANCEMASTER AND CHIEF” NOT “REASONABLE IN LIGHT OF THE USE TO WHICH THE FORUM IS DEDICATED”?
In my opinion, Thomas Jefferson would applaud everyone who wanted to dance at his memorial. In fact, he may even have a larger problem with the fact that the memorial which is dedicated to him was built because of the New Deal.