And the Lawsuits Shall Commence in 3, 2, 1….

Well, after the fracas in the Capitol the other night, the Chief of the Capitol Police has apologized both to Cindy Sheehan and to Beverly Young, the two women who were arrested for their apparel choice at the State of the Union. Charges against both women have been dropped by the Capitol Police.

Now, while I don’t support either woman’s t-shirt (one was pro-troops, another was anti-war) I believe that the State of the Union address is the President’s forum, and the place for protestors is not in the House Gallery.

17 Comments so far

  1. JM94 (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 12:39 pm

    I agree with you 100%, I can’t believe that the Capitol Police have apologized. They were doing their jobs, they did nothing wrong by removing both protesters. The rules are very clear, and the fact is that both members of congress should be disciplined for their guests actions. They should be apologizing to the Capitol Police

    We need more civility in Washington, we’ll never accomplish anything without it.

  2. Don (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 12:58 pm

    Well, it turns out that this issue has been addressed in the courts (over an informal prayer gathering of some visitors) and found unconstitutional. Additionally, their own rules explicitly say shirts do not qualify.

    Personally I think a dress code for the SOTU and House/Senate proceedings in general is a good idea. You look at what a clown show the House of Commons is over in the UK and realize just how far it’s possible to slide. Courtesy and decorum in our gatherings is Just The Right Thing, in my opinion.

    The flip side of that, however, is that we should do away with this mockery of free speech we’ve slid into with “free-speech zones” and supressing people, no matter how jackass-like, who want to protest. It’s hard to defend this kind of cause when people are stepped on almost as severely outside the building…

  3. Robbie (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 1:18 pm

    First, as an order of further discussion, I think it’s interesting that we label one t-shirt as “pro-troops” and the other as “anti-war”. If you asked Ms. Sheehan, she would probably tell you that her t-shirt is “pro-troops” as well. Maybe, to stave off such controversies, we should just label both shirts as “inappropriate for a formal function”.

    I think proper business attire should be required for SOTU addresses … or any speech in a formal forum, for that matter. Anyone not adhering to the dress code, regardless of whether they’re wearing a t-shirt that says “Support Our Troops” or “How Many Have Died?” or “I *heart* Power Rangers”, should not be permitted to attend.

  4. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 1:20 pm

    I believe that Ms. Sheehan’s t-shirt, as well as her continuous droning about the loss of her son, are anti-war. The woman is being used by the Democratic party as a toy and a martyr instead of getting her the counseling she so desperately needs.

  5. Don (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 1:26 pm

    Althought Greenwald is clearly biased, he is supposedly a lawyer and cites specific past cases indicating that the Cap police definately should have known better here:

  6. Robbie (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 2:13 pm

    Tom, I understand your point. But “anti-war” does not necessarily equate to “anti-troops”. True, you do not explicitly say so in your post; but in labeling Ms. Young’s t-shirt as “pro-troops” as opposed to “pro-war”, you give that impression that Ms. Sheehan’s t-shirt is anti-troops. (Or perhaps I’m just reading too much into your post.) If that was your intent, you should just have come out and said so instead of letting the implication do it for you.

    That is the point I was trying to make here.

    As an aside, don’t misinterpret that my challenge to your choice of words means that I disagree with your opinion of Ms. Sheehan. I don’t. I think she’s a duped pawn as well.

  7. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 2:16 pm

    Robbie, I chose my words very carefully.

    The message on Mrs. Young’s t-shirts wasn’t pro-war, it was pro-troops. The message read “Support our Troops”.

    Sheehan’s shirt read “2,243 Dead, How Many More?” which is an anti-war message, not an anti-troops message.

    I deliberated over the use of the terms, and I stand by them absolutely.

  8. Robbie (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 2:23 pm

    Understood, and thanks for the explaination. ^_^

  9. ed (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 3:37 pm

    Charges against both women have been dropped by the Capitol Police.

    Read the article you link to more carefully. Only Sheehan ever had any charges against her in the first place. Young was not arrested.

    And how on earth is the message “2,243 Dead, How Many More?” any less “pro-troops” (even if it is anti-war) than “Support Our Troops”? Not wanting more troops to die strikes me as fairly unequivocally pro-troops.

  10. wayan (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 4:26 pm

    Pro-troops or pro-Power Rangers, while you are supposed to wear formal attire as a sign of respect, I think arresting people who do not adhere to the boring dark suit-red tie is way out of line.

    Disallowing entry based on a published dress code, maybe, but it better be evenly applied to ever tourist, Capitol visitor, Hill staffer, etc who comes in, not only enforced for Presidential visits.

    More logical would be chastising the inviters – the Members who allow their guests to use the SoU to further a political cause in a disruptive fashion.

  11. Don (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 4:36 pm

    I don’t necessarily agree, Wayan (shock :) – while I think a certain level of dress should apply across the board I don’t have an issue with a higher standard for the SOTU. The presence of the President in the House addressing the nation is a more unusual and more significant event than the day-to-day operations, as well as more publically visible. Expecting that kind of event to be more hoitsy-toitsy bothers me not at all.

  12. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 5:12 pm

    Ed, it’s an anti-war message first and foremost.

  13. ed (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 5:41 pm

    Ed, it’s an anti-war message first and foremost.

    Oh, well, there you go, then. Can’t argue with that kind of reasoning!

  14. goop (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 8:34 pm

    So you’re anti-troops and pro-war. Now that’s an unusual position!

  15. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 10:07 pm

    No, I’m not anti-troops at all, Goop & Ed, what I’m against is bullshit, and you’re both providing plenty.

  16. East Coast Girl (unregistered) on February 15th, 2006 @ 4:03 pm

    I know I’m a little late to this post, but my computer has been on the blink for a while. The thing that annoys me about Cindy Sheehan is not what she was wearing but the whole hypocracy of her whining. This woman protesting the war and the loss of her son, is the same woman who gave up that same son in her divorce when he was only 7 years old. Her actions are more a futile effort to assuage her guilt over losing the son she abandoned (and therefore has now lost her chance to make it up to him), as well as a cry for public attention, rather than concern for the outcome of the war. And, by the way, if you wonder why she has so much free time to follow Dubyah around the country and whine? She is again in the middle of another divorce — and guess what? She is again giving up custody of another son.

    As Forest Gump once wisely proclaimed, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

  17. Don (unregistered) on February 15th, 2006 @ 5:14 pm

    There might be something to that, but perhaps there isn’t. We’re societally programmed to believe that a mother who would leave her children is a bad person, but that’s really not fair. Her husband may be the better parent, or may have a better situation in life to care full-time for their kid. Maybe he lives close to family who would help and she does not. Allowing the other parent to take primary custody doesn’t make her a bad person, and I suspect that if you asked yourself honestly you’d conclude that you are judging her more harshly for such an action than you would a man in an identical situation.

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