Cindy Sheehan, grieving mother turned political gadfly, has once again made headlines. It was only a short time ago that she turned up at the side of the insufferable Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, holding hands with “Banana Boat” Harry Belafonte and bad-mouthing the United States.
This time Ms. Sheehan was ejected from visitor’s gallery at the State of the Union address, along with a congressman’s wife, for a wardrobe malfunction. Actually, it was a malfunction of judgment. The ladies had worn T-shirts with a war message, Ms. Sheehan’s anti-war, and Beverly Young’s supportive of the war.
Ms. Sheehan was taken away in handcuffs before President Bush's arrival at the Capitol and charged with a misdemeanor for violating the District of Columbia's code against unlawful or disruptive conduct on any part of the Capitol grounds, while Ms. Young left the gallery and therefore was not arrested, Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said. Capitol Police dropped a charge of unlawful conduct against Ms. Sheehan on Wednesday and apologized for ejecting her and Ms. Young.
"Neither guest should have been confronted about the expressive T-shirts," Chief Gainer said in a press statement.
Neither pro-war nor anti-war messages, whether emblazoned on signs or worn on clothing, are appropriate at the State of the Union address, which is a formal and dignified communication from the President to the Congress required by the Constitution, not a cheap political event.
Ms. Sheehan has reportedly expressed the desire to sue somebody, which should come as no surprise. Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young, Florida Republican and Ms. Young’s husband, said he was not necessarily satisfied with the apology. "My wife was humiliated," Mr. Young told reporters. He suggested that "sensitivity training" might be in order for Capitol Police. I suggest the two women be ordered to take common sense and propriety training.
A Capital spokesperson framed the issue as well as anyone can: "You would assume that if you were coming to an event like the State of the Union address you would be dressed in appropriate attire," she said.
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