Yesterday’s entry about the NYT Magazine article Without a Doubt confirmed one aspect of the Bush administration that should’ve been already clear to anyone who follows the daily news: Dissent from anyone is not allowed.
The Bush campaign has been very careful in screening the people who show up for the rallies they’ve scheduled throughout the campaign to ensure that the TV crews capture nothing other than unbridled support for the President, but occasionally someone who isn’t 100% enraptured with Bush manages to make it in and sometimes they speak up and when they do they risk being arrested and charged with a crime. The Bush campaign is so paranoid about keeping all dissenters away from the cameras that they’re even snagging Bush supporters if they think there’s even a hint of dissent to come from them. The latest example of this comes to us from Oregon where three teachers were escorted from a Bush rally and threatened with arrest for wearing t-shirts that said “Protect our Civil Liberties.” All three women were Bush supporters who held valid tickets for the event and didn’t have any plans to cause a disturbance, but apparently Bush’s people consider his supporters asking him to protect their civil liberties as being an unreasonable request:
The women said they did not intend to protest. “I wanted to see if I would be able to make a statement that I feel is important, but not offensive, in a rally for my president,” said Janet Voorhies, 48, a teacher in training.
“We chose this phrase specifically because we didn’t think it would be offensive or degrading or obscene,” said Tania Tong, 34, a special education teacher.
Thursday’s event in Oregon sets a new bar for a Bush/Cheney campaign that has taken extraordinary measures to screen the opinions of those who attend Bush and Cheney speeches. For months, the Bush/Cheney campaign has limited event access to those willing to volunteer in Bush/Cheney campaign offices. In recent weeks, the Bush/Cheney campaign has gone so far as to have those who voice dissenting viewpoints at their events arrested and charged as criminals.
At an earlier campaign stop for Vice President Cheney in Oregon 54-year-old Perry Patterson was escorted from the event after she yelled out “No” in response to a Cheney’s claim that Bush had made the world a safer place. She was arrested by police and charged with criminal trespass.
The stay-at-home-mom said she asked police how she could be considered a criminal trespasser when she had a ticket to attend the event.
The officer told Patterson that Monaco Coach personnel did not want her there, making her a criminal trespasser if she remained.
But police were unable to provide her with written notice or a Monaco representative to personally order her off the premises.
A Monaco spokesman did not return a phone call seeking comment.
One word got her a $250 misdemeanor charge. In West Virginia Nicole and Jeff Rank are arrested for wearing shirts that read “Love America, Hate Bush.” After their arrest for trespassing, Nicole was “let go” from her job at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In Florida three protesters at a Bush visit to Legends Field are arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing after they refused to put away signs calling for an investigation of the 2000 presidential election and reading “June is Gay Pride Month.” The list goes on and on and the message is clear: As long as Bush is in office you should keep your negative opinions of him or his policies away from any public appearances he might be making in your area.