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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What About Cindy Sheehan?

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.

I disagree.

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.

Agree?

Disagree?


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12 comments:

Buffalo said...

I hope you are sitting down.....

Yeah, I disagree.

Surprise!

James Howard Shott said...

I'd be disappointed if you didn't.

faboofour said...

So, I've read a number of comments about the Sheehan/Young t-shirt ejections, and I can't help but notice that the "right" leaning commentators can't seen to mention Cindy Sheehan without also mentioning Hugo Chavez. For the life of me, I cannot see the relevance of invoking Hugo Chavez's name in their commentaries. What possible relevance does a South Amernican politician have to the the issue of appropriateness of the expression of free speech in the gallery of the United States Congress? Is Mr. Chavez's mere existence any more relevant than, say, that the vast majority of Congressman Bill Young's political contributions come from defense contractors like BAE Systems North America, which might be seen as being far more relevant to his wife's fashion choices? I think not.

It's time for the right to stop this all-too-obvious McCarthyist rhetoric of "guilt by association" personal attacks, because we in the American heartland can see right through it and we're getting pretty sick of it.

How 'bout we start to stick to the issues and quit the personal slurs.

Mr. Middle America said...

The only station (chain) in which I buy gas? Citgo, thank you very much. Not necessarily as a political statement, mind you... but more because of the color and cleanliness of their facilities!

Sheehan... I feel sorry for her for various reasons. (1) she did, in fact loose her son, (2) she has let extreme left-wing fractions guide her pursuit, (3) this has caused moderate america (me) look at her and think... "DAMN, woman, keep on track here..." (4) she was the wrong person to choose her occupation... it is not a good fit from her... first off her son would probably be upset if he knew she was doing what she is doing and second, she is easily led astray.

She is just a bad fit in a noble cause... that is, protesting this war is not a bad thing (it is, in fact, a good thing)... but she carries too much baggage to do it...

James Howard Shott said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James Howard Shott said...

What possible relevance does a South American politician have to the issue of appropriateness of the expression of free speech in the gallery of the United States Congress?

What people did yesterday, or do today or tomorrow does not exist in a vacuum. A person’s true identity is revealed by what one does, both the good and the bad, and the smart and the dumb. Cindy Sheehan is piling up a series of activities that when considered together make her look ever more anti-American. Holding hands—figuratively speaking—with anti-American nuts like Hugo Chavez and Harry Belafonte, then showing up at the SOTU address wearing war protest clothing are two sides of the same coin, and they give us insight into who she really is. Contrary to your assertion, people are indeed identified by whom they hang out with, and that has nothing to do with McCarthy.

And, as MMA said, "she has let extreme left-wing fractions guide her pursuit[s]" and consequently she appears like a Left-wing nut.

Independent1 said...

Whatever happened to showing respect for an event.

In the 1500's, if you had an audience with the King of France (Pick whichever King suits you) and you showed up in casual attire, you would probably find yourself beheaded.

The State of the Union is not a college kegger party, it's a formal event, where the focus of attention is on the President and his message to the country (whether you agree with that President or not).

Both women who showed up wearing t-shirts showed they have no respect for our country and that they think that the center of attention should be them, rather than the President and his message.

I would say the same thing somebody did this while Bill Clinton was President.

Stephen said...

"What people did yesterday, or do today or tomorrow does not exist in a vacuum. A person’s true identity is revealed by what one does, both the good and the bad, and the smart and the dumb."

Alright then, let's look a little more closely at the "principled" identity of C.W. Bill Young.

He says he's outraged because he feels his wife was mistreated by law enforcement.

Yet in April 2004 he was informed of the false arrest of a constituent (a veteran) in his district and couldn't have cared less. Where was his outrage then? I guess he only represents himself.

Then we have Young's comments to the Washington Post in which he makes it clear that he would not be so upset (more like he wouldn't be bothered at all) if only Cindy Sheehan had been removed, and not his wife...because he disagrees with Sheehan (So do I, but I hold her rights in no more and no less regard than Beverly Young's).

His lack of action for a wrongly arrested constituent and veteran (against whom all charges were promptly dropped, no thanks to Young) and his aggressive, nepotistic actions now on behalf of his wife (or himself, more likely), along with his statement that he would have been less angry if it had been only Cindy Sheehan who was ejected, demonstrates what he really "represents" - an outrageous hypocrite and menace to the Constitution.

Independent1 said...

I didn't realize that part of the job description for US Congressman was to be a defense attorney for everyone in his/her district who feels they were wrongly accussed (which is 99% of all people charged with crimes).


Realistically, when a constituent is charged with a crime, the best thing a congressman can do is stand back and let the process work itself out.

The fact that charges were quickly dropped shows that no action by Young was necessary---the system worked without his intervention.

I agree that Young's comments that only Sheehan should have been removed are hypocritical. A t-shirt is out of place at a SOTU event, regardless of the message or who is wearing it.

Attacking Young's character doesn't make Cindy Sheehan a person of good character. Sheehan's character is determined by her own actions, and her actions are anti-American.

Stephen said...

"I didn't realize that part of the job description for US Congressman was to be a defense attorney for everyone in his/her district who feels they were wrongly accussed (which is 99% of all people charged with crimes).

And yet there he was waving a t-shirt, huffing and puffing his hypocrisy all over the floor of the House.

Where do Cindy Sheehan and Beverly Young fit into your 99%?

James Howard Shott said...

I'm an old guy that graduated from high school in 1963. Ah, yes ... the good ol' days.

Say what you will about those days, things were so much better in so many (though not all) ways.

Back then we had the First Amendment right to free expression, just as we still do today.

What we had then that we largely do not have today is a sense of decorum, of propriety, of what is right and wrong in certain circumstances.

Today, many people think that all that matters is that they have the right to do or say something, and by golly they are going to do or say, no matter what.

That is what Ms. Sheehan and Ms. Young both did: They ignored the venue and the accepted standards of conduct for that venue, and instead asserted their "right" to wear clothing with a political message on it, as if nothing else was important.

They have the right to wear what they want to wear, but they do not have the right to wear what they want to wear anywhere they go. There are other "rules" and certain standards imposed that under certain circumstances preclude the right to free speech.

You can't, for example, shout "Fire!" in a public place because it endangers the occupants of that place. You can't run naked down the street just because you want to. You can't wear clothing with profane messages on them in public (in most public places) for reasons of decency.

The list goes on and on.

Wearing clothing with a political message on them to the SOTU address is not illegal (or perhaps it is, according to the rules of the Capital), but is not acceptable.

Independent1 said...

Stephen asked "Where do Cindy Sheehan and Beverly Young fit into your 99%?"

Since I had said that 99% of all who are CHARGED of a crime profess these inocense, and neither Cindy Sheehan nor Beverly Young were charged with a crime, they don't even fit the statement, and there was no need for Bill Young to get involved as a defense attorney (which by the way is NOT in his job description, I was being sarcastic when I said that to make the point that Young has no responsibility to defend his constituents in criminal matters). The point I made earlier still holds, the best thing a congressman can do for a wrongly accused constituent is to stand back and let the process work.

And you still seem to be missing the main point---Attacking young's hypocrisy on the t-shirt issue (which is a point which I agree with you on, in case you missed it before) does not make Cindy Sheehan a person of good character. Her character is determined by HER actions. This is important to remember because the issue at hand is why so many Americans feel Cindy Sheehan is anti-American. (the reason by the way is that her actions have told us so).