To the editor;
The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and the right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Lawmakers in Jefferson City, Mo., recently directed state employees to shield them from telephone complaints by citizens upset with their policies.
Meanwhile, Gov. Matt Blunt gave a speech to a gathering celebrating the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Conspicuously missing from this gathering were persons with disabilities who were barred by police from attending out of fear they would ask the governor embarrassing questions.
These new restrictions on speech do not apply to representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, nursing home industry and a host of other fat cats who can still be found prowling the halls of the Capitol enjoying easy access to our lawmakers. Phone calls? No problem. No wonder recent polls show the governor weighing in with a 35 percent approval rating, the third worst out of 50 governors. Incredibly, when asked about these dismal numbers, Blunt blamed former governor Bob Holden.
Holden did not suspend the First Amendment. Blunt alone is to blame for his unpopularity, having adopted a "Let them eat cake" philosophy by breaking campaign promises on Medicaid, refusing to listen to suggestions from affected citizens and restricting speech in our Capitol. Holden did it? What happened to the "Take responsibility for your actions" philosophy of conservative politicians? Does it apply only to the poor and disabled, or our elected officials as well?
WILL RICHARDSON, Jackson