Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Only Brown T-shirts allowed

As everyone knows by now, Cindy Sheehan was ejected from the SOTU and arrested for wearing a t-shirt with the number of dead soldiers in Iraq. She was not disruptive, she did not say anything, she did not interrupt the proceedings. Security saw her shirt and rather forcefully 'escorted" her out. She has since been released.

Yup, yet another example this administration's disregard for free speech. They seem to think that anything critical of the king must be removed from his sight and effectively silenced.

A few examples, from the Huffington Post:

In August 2004, John Prather, a mild-mannered math professor at Ohio University, was removed by security from a presidential event on public property because he wore a shirt that featured John Kerry.

On July 4, 2004, Nicole and Jeff Rank were arrested at a Bush event in West Virginia for wearing T-shirts that criticized the president. (About the same time the Ranks were being taken away in handcuffs, Bush was reminding the audience, "On this 4th of July, we confirm our love of freedom, the freedom for people to speak their minds." The irony was rich.)

In August 2004, campaign workers removed a family from a presidential event in Michigan because Barbara Miller, a 50-year-old chemist, carried in a rolled-up T-shirt emblazoned with a pro-choice slogan. (She wasn't even wearing it.) Miller later said, "I just wanted to see my president," and brought the extra shirt in case she got cold.

In July 2004, Jayson Nelson, a county supervisor in Appleton, Wis., was thrown out of a presidential event because of a Kerry T-shirt. An event staffer saw the shirt, snatched the VIP ticket, and called for police. "Look at his shirt! Look at his shirt!" Nelson recalled the woman telling the Ashwaubenon Public Safety officer who answered the call. Nelson said the officer told him, "You gotta go," and sternly directed him to a Secret Service contingent that spent seven or eight minutes checking him over before ejecting him from the property.

In October 2004, three Oregon schoolteachers were removed from a Bush event and threatened with arrest for wearing t-shirts that said, "Protect Our Civil Liberties."

In each instance, the "accused" had tickets to see the president. Moreover, none were disturbing the peace, disrupting an event, or causing a ruckus. Their crime was their shirt.

Yup. Don't you just love the government's definition of freedom? Aren't we supposed to be better than that?

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