Thursday, February 02, 2006

Those T-shirts

By now surely you know that Cindy Sheehan was arrested just before the State of the Union address began for wearing a T-shirt that stated the number of American deaths in the Iraq war. What may have escaped your attention is that another woman, a Republican wearing a "support the troops" T-shirt, was also required to leave the House chamber. The big difference is that the Republican was not arrested or roughed up the way Cindy Sheehan was. John Nichols discusses this in his opinion piece in the Nation called, "The War on T-Shirts" :

Is there really a law against wearing a political T-shirt to the State of the Union address?


The Capitol Police, who on Wednesday dropped the charges against Sheehan, have acknowledged in an official statement that: "While officers acted in a manner consistent with the rules of decorum enforced by the department in the House Gallery for years, neither Mrs. Sheehan's manner of dress or initial conduct warranted law enforcement intervention."

What they have not acknowledged, and what is truly troubling, is the evidence that Sheehan was singled out for rough justice.

Beverly Young, the wife of Representative C.W. Bill Young, a Florida Republican who chairs the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee, showed for the State of the Union address up sporting a T-shirt that read, "Support the Troops--Defending Our Freedom." When Capitol Police asked her to leave the gallery because she was wearing clothing that featured a political message, Mrs. Young says, she argued loudly with officers and called one of them "an idiot."

But Mrs. Young was not handcuffed. She was not dragged from the Capitol. She was not arrested. She was not jailed.

Sheehan, who caused no ruckus, was arrested not because she engaged in "unlawful conduct." Rather, by every evidence, she was arrested because of what her T-shirt said--and, by extension, because of what she believes.

So now we're moving toward having thought crimes in this country. Think about it. This is very, very disturbing.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:54 PM

    You know it strikes me as very strange that burning the flag has been protected/allowed under the idea of freedom of speech. Yet, it would now appear that wearing a T-shirt with a political message is not considered freedom of speech. Neither one of these ladies should have been arrested in any fashion. It is just especially disgraceful that Ms. Sheehan was handled in what was a very biased manner. Makes me wonder what else is no longer protected by the constitutional right to freedom of speech. Does this not just send a shiver down your spine?
    Carolyn L.


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