Thursday, February 02, 2006

Get it in XL - they always shrink

At the State of the Union address on Tuesday, Capitol police removed and arrested Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war advocate who lost a son in Iraq, because she was wearing a t-shirt that noted the body count of U.S. soldiers: "2,245 Dead. How Many More?" But they even threw out the wife of a congressman, who was wearing a shirt with a patriotic slogan on it.

At the time, officials said such "messages" were not allowed, although they later apologized to the women, and said, in fact, there is no prohibition against such slogans on clothing.

It could just have been a screw-up by cops on the scene, but the Sheehan case may also be indicative of how dissent in ths country is being increasingly stifled. When Bush speaks at one of his phony "town hall" meetings, the audience members are carefully chosen from local Republican groups or military bases, where no criticism of the commander-in-chief is allowed. Protestors are kept a distance from any of his appearances. He, of course, travels in a guarded bubble. No harsh words or signs must disturb Dear Leader.

People wonder how presidents get out of touch. That's how. But this administration takes it to new levels of paranoia. Even Richard Nixon met with Vietnam War protestors.

Personally, I'd have given everyone attending the SOTU speech a t-shirt as they left the building, a variation on those vacation shirts brought back from Disneyland or the like: "I went to the State of the Union and all I got was this lousy President."

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