Thursday, February 02, 2006

In Cindy Sheehan’s Own Words

As another chapter to the incarceration of Cindy Sheehan story, she released a statement today detailing her treatment at the State of the Union last night, and her frustration at a government that first took away her son in an unjustified war and then took away her voice in a country that’s supposed to stand for liberty. Listen to her words, and understand the depth or our country’s betrayal of this woman:

I told him that my son died there. That's when the enormity of my loss hit me. I have lost my son. I have lost my First Amendment rights. I have lost the country that I love. Where did America go? I started crying in pain.

What did Casey die for? What did the 2,244 other brave young Americans die for? What are tens of thousands of them over there in harm's way for still? For this? I can't even wear a shirt that has the number of troops on it that George Bush and his arrogant and ignorant policies are responsible for killing.

And this is Sheehan’s description of the event itself:

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.

The officer ran with me to the elevators yelling at everyone to move out of the way. When we got to the elevators, he cuffed me and took me outside to await a squad car. On the way out, someone behind me said, "That's Cindy Sheehan." At which point the officer who arrested me said, "Take these steps slowly." I said, "You didn't care about being careful when you were dragging me up the other steps." He said, "That's because you were protesting." Wow, I get hauled out of the People's House because I was, "Protesting."

I was never told that I couldn't wear that shirt into the Congress. I was never asked to take it off or zip my jacket back up. If I had been asked to do any of those things...I would have, and written about the suppression of my freedom of speech later. I was immediately, and roughly (I have the bruises and muscle spasms to prove it) hauled off and arrested for "unlawful conduct."

Below you will see the shirt that got Cindy Sheehan in trouble. It says “2,245 Dead, How Many More?” and allows for the wearer to change the number to represent recent death counts. The shirt will be out of date by tomorrow if she forgets to change the number. Is this a horrible shirt to wear? I would have to say I’m not sure I would feel any differently if it were my son (if I had one). And no matter what, she has the right to express her opinion; that’s what a free nation is all about.

Sheehan may have offended tradition, but she did not break the law. There is a custom that the annual address is supposed to be dignified, and dignified attire is expected. But on the back of every gallery pass are rules including not reading, writing, smoking, eating, drinking, applauding, or taking photographs, as wel as what individuals can and cannot bring to the event. There is no mention of attire.

The police have dropped the charges against Cindy Sheehan, and apologized both for her rough treatment and for her incarceration. But last night, when millions of people watched, she had a chance to make a statement, and that chance was stolen from her by an administration that does not believe in free speech. I’m sorry, but she has earned better with her sacrifice, and she deserves better. Let’s hope Bush finds a better way to treat her in the future.

Posted by Scottage at 12:28 AM / | |