Wednesday, February 01, 2006

First Amendment Amended

Last night, Cindy Sheehan was forcibly removed from the audience at the State of the Union address because she was wearing a dangerous T-shirt (via).

From the comments on that post, I see that even Republicans were "honked off" by that until the spin machine went into overdrive a perfectly sensible explanation was offered.

Apparently, "any and all kinds of sloganeering or demonstrating is strictly forbidden "in the Capitol." That makes sense, you see. All kinds of demonstrating is strictly forbidden in the Capital. There was no "big brother" element to this, no stifling of the right to free speech, no underlying motive of any kind. This was probably nothing to do with the Bush administration. It's just that any and all kinds of demonstrations are strictly forbidden.

So, how many of these people were forcibly removed last year? Because that's clearly a demonstration and demonstrating is strictly forbidden in the Capitol.

(This is a slight regurgitation of a comment I made to this post)
It seems that a Republican senator's wife was also ejected for wearing a pro-war T-Shirt. (Thanks to the Ink Slinger for the tip in the comments.) This allegedly happened after President Bush started speaking. Sheehan was ejected 30 minutes before he arrived. And, strangely, the Capitol Police don't seem quite so sure it happened the way Young has claimed.
Capitol Police disagreed with Young's account of the incident. "She was not ejected from the gallery. She did leave on her own," said Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, who said she could not provide further information."
So she certainly wasn't forcibly removed half an hour before the president arrived, put in handcuffs, or detained for 4 hours. She does not face the prospect of a maximum of one year in prison for "unlawful conduct" as Sheehan does. And it seems that it's questionable whether she was asked to leave at all. Got that?

Now, marvel at what I believe I'm legally obliged to describe as wingnuttery. Sure, equal treatment for Sheehan and Young. This is not in anyway a feeble attempt at damage control. No sir.

Btw, I've read a few more of the posts on Balloon Juice linked above, normally something I do in advance of linking, and it seems I did the guys there a disservice by implying that they were Bush supporting drones. They seem more than prepared to criticise the man. I offer my apologies. My excuse is that I really had just had a little bit of my head surgically removed (a very small harmless bit, I hasten to add). Anyway, sorry about that.

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