In a series of press releases, John Murphy – an independent running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 16th District – has announced some good news and the bad news.
First, the good news:Â Murphy has been endorsed by Howard Zinn, the world-famous historian and activist.Â He is most famous for writing “The People’s History of the United States,” a book that looked at our country’s history from the perspective of those usually ignored in the mainstream.Â Zinn said of Murphy,
â€œI am pleased to endorse John Murphy in his campaign for House of Representatives in Pennsylvaniaâ€™s sixteenth district. I do this not only because he condemns the continued occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan but because he opposes the very idea of imperialist wars, and so-called ‘preemptive wars’. He rejects unequivocally the doctrine of American exceptionalism, whereby the U.S. exempts itself from the rules it demands for every other nation. I urge not only the people in Pennsylvania to give their support to John Murphy but Americans across the nation to support his campaign.â€
The harsher news coming from Murphy’s campaign is that about 200 of his yard signs that were placed on public lands have been destroyed due to a single Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, or PENNDOT, official.Â Murphy issued the following the statement:
By law, candidates for public office are permitted to place lawn signs on public property beginning on October 1 prior to the November election. The signs must be removed one week after the election. On October 4th and 5th John Murphy and one of his volunteers, also in his 60s went up and down every on-ramp and off-ramp of Route 1, south-bound and south-bound, from Kennett Square to Oxford Pennsylvania placing approximately 200 signs over the two-day weekend.
On Monday morning another one of John Murphyâ€™s volunteers from Oxford,Â PAÂ witnessed PENNDOT (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation) crushing his campaign signs in the medial strip of Route One. Later the Murphy campaign received an e-mail message from a PENNDOT employee named Roger Palmer informing John Murphy that he must remove the signs. Mr. Murphy replied that it was not required that he remove the signs but that the highway department could temporarily remove the signs then mow the grass and replace the signs securely in their original position.
John Murphy informed the PENNDOT representative that the removal of his signs would constitute a violation of his First Amendment rights and would be a direct interference with a Federal election.
None of this mattered to PENNDOT. Not private property. Not the law. Not the Constitution. Not interference in a federal election. Unlike the Republican Party which has a half million dollars and can produce radio and television commercials and send out direct mail pieces, the placement of lawn signs is the primary means of creating name recognition for an independent candidate. Palmer was informed of this but still deliberately decided that he would destroy the independent congressional candidate John Murphy’s First Amendment rights and directly interfere in a federal election by making it impossible for Murphy to bring his candidacy to the attention of the voters in Southwestern Chester County…
John Murphy told Palmer that by removing his signs Palmer would be guilty of rigging an election just as surely as those who rig voting machines. None of this meant anything to Palmer who then ordered the removal of all 200 of Murphy’s campaign signs from every on-ramp and off-ramp, north bound and south bound on Route 1 from Kennett Square to Oxford Pennsylvania.
John Murphy said “we have no extra lawn signs. We had just enough to cover the district. Moreover, all of my volunteers have their assignments for the next two weekends. Palmer knew that he was wantonly interfering with a federal election and proceeded to do so in the fashion of a paid saboteur or a member of a fascist organization”.
John Murphy plans take legal action as soon as it is has been determined if he has standing to sue. Murphy continued, “this is a disgrace to democracy. All Palmer had to do was to have his crew pick up theÂ signs on each ramp and then replace them. Democracy and private property and democratic elections were without any value to his bureaucratic mindset”.
If you wish to help Murphy recover from this setback, you can donte here or contact Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to volunteer.