Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Congress 3:16

You know what - I'm going to go ahead and agree with the Capitol police's original actions in removing both Cindy Sheehan and a Reep MoC's wife for wearing message t-shirts.

It's the State of the Union. It's the United States House of Representatives. It is not the Superbowl. It is not the Superdome.

But since we in this country have lost all appreciation of nuance or power to distinguish in this country The Capitol police are doing the "whoopsie!" dance and using phrases like "good faith, but mistaken effort to enforce an old unwritten interpretation of the prohibitions about demonstrating in the Capitol."

If Congress is smart, they'll write down the rule and continue to enforce it.

Of course, the about-face likely has little to do with Sheehan and everything to do with the offending MoC's wife getting the boot.

As far as I know, it is still House policy to disallow what have been dubbed in this article as "expressive" buttons, pins, t-shirts, etc. So why wouldn't gallery guests be held to the same standards?

Time, place, and manner, kids. And we have concrete evidence that enforcement was viewpoint/content neutral. I don't think "Go Georgie" would've been allowed either. Would you like it to have been?

If Sheehan is smart, she'll stay on message and not pursue this perceived slight.

The First Amendment's free speech provisions may be under attack, but not from the Capitol Police.

5 comments:

jbl said...

Content neutral perhaps, but there is a difference. Sheehan was arrested and booked. The MoC's wife was just removed from the chamber. Huge difference. And, there wasn't a rule - at least not one that's written. And how do you enforce a law that's not there?

cd said...

Talk to ICE - they're expert at it.

Ruby said...

During one of Clinton's SoU addresses a man was removed from the gallery for wearing a t-shirt that read "Clinton didn't inhale - he sucks."

It really is all about manners and an informed sense of decorum. But Americans aren't very good at that.

Taryn said...

Anyone who thinks that Americans are the only ones who don't have manners or a sense of decorum in politics has clearly never watched the House of Commons in debate. Perhaps it is the wigs and Austonion insults seem more decorous?

cd said...

Yeah, but the brits do it with accents. And doesn't that just make EVERYTHING better?

Wait, I'll answer: trust, me, it does.