Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Protest Against Bush... Go to Jail

People might not know about this, even though it was on Drudge, because the Drudgereport link clearly overloaded this paper's servers this afternoon. So... from the Charlseton Gazette (rather thorough reporter is Tara Tickwiller), July 14th Edition, we get:

The tale of a couple arrested for wearing anti-Bush t-shirts during one of the President's speeches in West Virginia on July 4th. Yup, arrested for political slogans on T-Shirts. Nicole and Jeff Rank were detained for wearing shirts that said: “Love America, Hate Bush.” I mean, they aren't even pornographic shirts!

According to the Charlseton Gazette: "Spectators who wore pro-Bush T-shirts and Bush-Cheney campaign buttons were allowed to stay."

The couple were in Charlseton WV, by the way, because Nicole was doing flood relief work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Since the arrest, Nicole was told that she wasn't needed in West Virginia. Because she is some sort of contract employee, that means that she lost her job.

To be charitable, I am perfectly willing to accept that, post 9-11, a few oversealous Secret Service people got a little edgy about anti-Bush people at Dubya's speeches. They are, after all, sworn to give their own lives for his.

But, reports the Gazette, it goes beyond that. Check this out (from Tuckwiller's article): "Since Bush took office in early 2001, people have been banned from displaying anti-Bush messages at dozens of Bush appearances across the country. In September, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against the Secret Service, seeking an injunction against the Bush administration for segregating protesters at his public appearances." The ACLU won, by the way.

But, more important than the ACLU victory is the revelation that this practice of singling out dissidents actually predates 9-11. I guess that's the thing you do when you're a President who didn't clearly win the election that put you in office.

This tale ends, of course, with the cost of justice. Because the Tuckwiller's aren't from West Virginia they've been faced with an awfu; choice: They can either stay in or near Chalreston, at their own cost, to make their court date and argue that they were unlwafully arrested, or they can let it slide and head back home to Corpus Christi, Texas. They've decided to stay in motels around Charleston, risking their financial well-being in order to make a principled stand.

But the real question is: Why does only the Charleston Gazette have a story about this? Assignment for you big hitters at the NY Times and WaPo -- send a reportet to West Virginia, interview this couple, and tell the nation that our President doesn't tolerate dissent. And, if you win an award for it, don't forget that the Gazette's Tara Tuckwiller scooped all your asses.


At 9:47 AM , Blogger adriana said...

WHAT THE??? this is so wrong. how do they get away with this crap? somebody DO something!!

At 9:49 AM , Blogger tifanie said...

Ok, I didn't have time to read any of your blogs yet, but am so happy to find you! Write away, and I will be back in a few days to read all of your wisdoms!

At 10:58 AM , Blogger Mike M. said...

Well, Adriana... they get away with it because people tend to defer to authority. The ACLu already sued over the practice of the Secret Service segregating, harassing and arresting peaceful protestors. The Secret Service even publicly admitted that they went too far. Problem is, most people's reaction to getting an order from an armed member of a government agency is to do what they're told and then forget about it. But I'm surprised more attention hasn't been paid to this.


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