Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Congresswoman Outraged Over Cindy Sheehan Arrest

"No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it.” ~ George W. Bush, January 31, 2006.
And yet there was Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, arrested last night in the House chamber for wearing a t-shirt that gave the number of military dead in the war Bush lied to start. Yes, you read that right. In the United States of America, a woman who had a legitimate ticket to the State of the Union – she was a guest of Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) -- was arrested for wearing a t-shirt.

You can go to BuzzFlash to read Cindy’s version of events, “What Really Happened....” In that article, Cindy points out that she had not even planned on attending the speech – something about listening to the man responsible for her son’s death, I imagine – and was talked into it at the last minute, wearing the same shirt she had worn to an anti-war event earlier that day.

Here’s an excerpt from Cindy’s post:
I was having second thoughts about going to the SOTU at the Capitol. I didn't feel comfortable going. I knew George Bush would say things that would hurt me and anger me and I knew that I couldn't disrupt the address because Lynn had given me the ticket and I didn't want to be disruptive out of respect for her. I, in fact, had given the ticket to John Bruhns who is in Iraq Veterans Against the War. However, Lynn's office had already called the media and everyone knew I was going to be there so I sucked it up and went.

I got the ticket back from John, and I met one of Congresswoman Barbara Lee's staffers in the Longworth Congressional Office building and we went to the Capitol via the underground tunnel. I went through security once, then had to use the rest room and went through security again.

My ticket was in the 5th gallery, front row, fourth seat in. The person who in a few minutes was to arrest me, helped me to my seat.

I had just sat down and I was warm from climbing 3 flights of stairs back up from the bathroom so I unzipped my jacket. I turned to the right to take my left arm out, when the same officer saw my shirt and yelled; "Protester." He then ran over to me, hauled me out of my seat and roughly (with my hands behind my back) shoved me up the stairs. I said something like "I'm going, do you have to be so rough?" By the way, his name is Mike Weight.
Representative Woolsey made the following statement today on the episode:
“Since when is free speech conditional on whether you agree with the President? Cindy Sheehan, who gave her own flesh and blood for this disastrous war, did not violate any rules of the House of Representatives. She merely wore a shirt that highlighted the human cost of the Iraq war and expressed a view different than that of the President. Free speech and the First Amendment exist to protect dissenting statements like Ms. Sheehan’s last night.

“Stifling the truth will not blind Americans to the immorality of sending young Americans to die in an unnecessary war, against a nation that posed no threat to our security. The President's speech last night was yet another attempt to distort history, as he suggested -- once again -- that the 9/11 terrorists came from Iraq. Everyone knows this is not true. We must not be afraid to say that the emperor has no clothes. It's time to bring our troops home.”
“I have some lawyers looking into filing a First Amendment lawsuit against the government for what happened tonight,” said Sheehan. “I will file it. It is time to take our freedoms and our country back.”

She is absolutely right and I hope she does file a lawsuit.

Arrested for wearing a shirt that might offend the King, and subject to up to a year in jail for doing so.
What the hell has happened to our country?