City Defaces Peace Sign

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2005-06-09

[To: Mayor, Highland Park, Illinois, and Editor, Highland Park News]

It was quite astonishing to see that the information on the peace sign "The Cost of War" displayed on the corner of Laurel Ave. and St. Johns Ave. had been taped over -- by a city department. It produced wonderment at what could have been so offensive that the city of Highland Park -- which had reviewed the exact sign and had duly given permission for its mounting -- had suddenly, after the sign had gone up, changed its mind and acted in such a brusque, startling manner.

The "Cost of War" sign invited the public to the weekly Thursday vigil on Central Avenue, and it listed public information from the Department of Defense and NGO agency sources of the numbers of casualties and the current dollar figure of the war's cost.

Why these public information figures should be literally "covered up" is baffling. Public information is not "zealous" or "biased" or "partisan" but simply communicative, on this sign explaining the reason for the vigil.

In addition to the remarkable manner of this censorship, it is also painful to consider the possibility that the city may be guilty of violation of constitutionally protected free speech.

What is almost as bad is to witness an acceptance by some that to hear of no evil and to speak of no evil will produce the "bliss" of ignorance,

and that that's okay. But there is a universally accepted belief that a grown up and democratic community should refuse to accept that kind of mindset.