IN MY OPINION
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LIBERTY AND INJUSTICE FOR ALL
3 February 2006
I really need to stop watching the news. It's all just so damned depressing. It just seems like the world is spiraling out of control. As I write this, in the background is the news report of the man who was shot 3 times by police in California as he was attempting to get up (he had committed no crime, was unarmed, was complying with orders, and had just returned from service in Iraq).
And then there was the state of the union, the yearly fiction and fantasy that we are subjected to, learning that everything is just hunky dory. It matters not what the reality is, as long as you continue to state that it is all Wonderful, then perhaps you can convince yourself that it is all Wonderful.
However, it was not the speech itself which depressed me, though that was depressing enough (even though I slept through the middle of it).
It was Cindy Sheehan.
Now, I will have to admit that Cindy Sheehan may be a bit "out there," especially with her recent decision to run for Congress. But I support her right to protest a war that I am so opposed to as well.
It is one thing to remove a legally invited guest from the gallary of the house chamber, but then to arrest her for wearing a message on her t-shirt?
It may be said that the police who removed her from the gallery were equality opportunity idiots, since they also removed the wife of Florida Republican Representative Bill Young, who was also wearing a t-shirt, hers expressing support for the troops.
(The DC police now say they "thought it was illegal" to wear political t-shirts in the capitol. Uh...what do these guys do for a living? I mean, isn't it their job to police the capitol? Didn't they have an orientation where the rules were laid out for them? Does the capitol have a big sign saying that political themed t-shirts will not be permitted inside? Before you enter the gallery of the chambers in the capitol in Sacramento, there is a big sign about what you may and may not have with you and how you are to behave. Have they overlooked that part in our nation's capitol?)
What bothers me most about this is that Ms. Sheehan was handcuffed and taken to police headquarters where she was held for four hours, while Mrs. Young was only ejected from the gallery.
There has been no indication by anybody anywhere that Ms. Sheehan had committed any act which would warrant her being arrested. Her only crime, it appears, was wearing a shirt expressing support for the men and boys who died in Iraq, which was apparently enough to get her handcuffed and hauled off to jail.
(Cindy Sheehan's account of her experience can be read here.)
While the man in the White House stood in front of the entire country and talked about how we are spreading freedom and democracy around the world, two people who were using their democratic right of political statement were being ejected from the chamber for expressing their sentiments.
What a message that must send to the countries we are trying to sell "freedom" and "democracy" to.
"Freedom" means your right to do whatever is politically approved by the current administration.
"Democracy" means that you are OK as long as you agree with what the current administration wants you to feel.
But heaven forbid if you interpret "freedom" to mean that you are free to express sentiments contrary to the current policies of the admistration; or if you interpret "democracy" as being "the principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community."
Ms. Sheehan and Mrs. Young were expressing slightly different views, but neither was given respect for their opinions and Ms. Sheehan was arrested for expressing her sentiments.
Whose opinion is going to be suppressed next?
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Today is the birthday of my "Brasilian brother," Nelson.