This Land Is Your Land . . . No, Not Yours

Here’s a comment I received last night, in its entirety.

I tried busking in downtown El Paso today for the first time. I started down by the Plaza Theater and was asked to move repeatedly from the storefront areas between Starbucks and the Plaza because it was private property. I asked where the private property ended and the public property began and I was told “on the other side of the bicycle racks.” Following these directions I sang in front of a “Singing in the Rain” poster for a coup!e of hours, then was told again it was private property and I had to move. I asked where was the public property and they said San Jacinto park or the Art Museum Plaza. At San Jacinto park security told us we could play but not collect tips. Being my first day I didn’t push too hard but the article and comments here are very helpful.

Tell me who, on God’s green earth, is against buskers?

People who hate music?

If there’s one thing El Paso has, it’s culture. I mean sure, some people hate culture just on principle, but I’m pretty sure those people voted for Hitler, and miss him now. What, we have people employed by, or employed by people who are paid by, the City of El Paso, actively working to restrict the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States?

I don’t want to make a bigger deal out of this than it is, but it’s a big deal. You let the city routinely violate the constitutional rights of the people of El Paso, and the next thing you know they’ll be conducting walking quorums. Or promising the voters one thing, and then, as soon as they’re elected, doing something else. Or asking the voters to approve a project in a bond election, and then changing the project after the vote.

Oh, what? They already do those things?

Then how about letting a bunch of suits telling us who they think we ought to be? We can’t express our cultural identities in public spaces because we don’t conform to a bunch of suits’ idea of what El Paso is supposed to be?

If they have a name for people like that, and I’m pretty sure the name is “assholes.”

And I’m pretty sure that the City of El Paso owns the Plaza Theatre. And I’m pretty sure that if the city owns it, it’s not private property.

If I had his phone number, I’d ask Mr. Paul L. Foster, the owner of the Mills Building and the old White House Department Store, those buildings in front of which the commenter was busking, how he feels about buskers, and culture, and the constitution. I wonder what he’d say.

One comment

  1. I am against buskers. It is irritating to be subjected to everyone’s “talent” just because they want to perform. What about a person’s right to be left alone in public? Buskers should go to Los Angeles and perform there to maybe get discovered and earn a living. In the meantime, it is not a great thing to expect people to give you money because you think you can sing, dance, play an instrument, etc. Begging is a poor excuse for laziness. Not everyone who begs for money is lazy, but 99% of them are. They choose to beg instead of working, busking is only one step above straight begging. I counted one day on my way to work how many times I was expected to give money to panhandlers and it was 7. Seven people who every day thought I should partially finance their lifestyle.

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