April 13, 1994
Opinion - The Arlington Courier
The Liberties of our sons

"If you see anyone putting them up, be sure you get their license number so we can find out who they are."

That remark my sound like advice from Captain Renault, the Vichy Police magistrate in Rick Blane's Casablanca, but in fact the words burbled forth from none other than Kevin Appel, Chairman of the Arlington County Democratic Party.

Mr. Appel, apparently a thin skinned-fellow, wants to round up the usual suspects because they had the temerity to tack up flyers ribbing his pals on the County Board. Among other things, the flyer advertised "yard sales" for "political favors" and "land deals" and even suggested voters Dismiss Corrupt Arlington County Dems."

The group responsible for the flyers is known to citizens as "The Sons of Liberty," a rather haughty moniker to adopt. Indeed, the first Americans to march under its banderole dressed up as Indians and threw some British tea into Boston Harbor.Their leader was Samuel Adams, who Mr Appel surely knows brewed the first keg of what is now known as "the best beer in America."

IN any event, Mr Appel wants the Commonwealth's Attorney to investigate this crime of free speech because, he tells the coppers, it violates the Commonwealth's law that proscribes the activities of political groups involved in campaigns, what they may say and how they say it.

Whether the County's Democrats hold yard sales in anyone's guess, but it doesn't take a secret police chief to figure out that Mr Appel needs a good lesson on the First Amendment. Its author, you know, was a virginian.

For its part, the Grand Old Party of Honest Abe is running hither and thither and yon to pass resolutions condemning Sen John Warner. His crime? He rained on Oliver North's star spangled parade. Whoever the Sons of Liberty are and whatever they are doing, they havent violated any code. And they are no more interested in candidates or campaigns than Mr Appel is in joining the republican Party. Without even trying, he made their point for them.

If Kevin Appel and his pals get this rattled by a few leaflets that cost mere pennies to produce, imagine what will happen when a real Son of Liberty starts a real campaign. - R.C.K.

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