MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS
MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924
A Day Of Infamy
By Anthony Serna
The halls of congress belong to the people. It is where their duly elected representatives express the people's will. Anyone can be invited by any member of congress to attend occasions such as what was held yesterday when the president delivered the State of the Union address to the American people. Mrs. Cindy Sheehan was such an invited guest to that event. Our representative, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey invited her, for a good reason. Mrs. Sheehan has been unsuccessful in her repeated attempts to talk to the president regarding the reason behind her son's being sent to Iraq to die. The president has steadfastly refused to give her an audience. If she cannot have that audience on a one on one basis, she can at least attend the president's address and be a part of the audience present in congress. Who knows, the president may be so carried away by his "positive message" to the people that he may marshal enough courage to dialogue with Mrs. Sheehan while they are both in the same place. It was a long shot for sure, but worth the try. It is an effective way to remind the president that he can run but he cannot hide. If he can admonish Osama Bin Laden with that quote, why cannot Mrs. Sheehan do the same to him?
It however proved to be wishful thinking on the part of anyone to imagine that such a scenario can take place. Instead of a dialogue with the president, Mrs. Sheehan was unceremoniously arrested, handcuffed and detained, like a common criminal, by the president's security detail. The reason behind such travesty is obvious. If Mrs. Sheehan were an ordinary citizen, she would have been treated differently. But Cindy Sheehan is not an ordinary citizen. She is the face and voice of all the mothers, wives and sisters of our brave military men, serving their country in the Middle East. She lost her son and simply wants to know why we are there, needlessly wasting American lives and resources for purposes that are hardly noble. She represents the opinion and thinking of sixty percent of American voters in the 51 states of the union. This is a bigger representation than what any current member of congress enjoys. But in spite of it -- or because of it, she was thrown out.
The ridiculous reason given for Mrs. Sheehan's arrest is that she was wearing a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan printed on it. But is there any law against that? It was not even a slogan that was printed on her shirt. It was a question that the whole of America is currently asking: "2,242 DEAD. HOW MANY MORE?". If the current members of congress indeed represent the people, they are the ones who should be asking that question. But they are not and do not seem to care as much as Mrs. Sheehan and the majority of Americans do. Instead of throwing her out, our elected representatives should have given her a standing ovation. They should have walked out when this courageous mother of a dead hero was unceremoniously thrown out from the house of the people because she had the courage to ask the right question at the right time. Congresswoman Woolsey has publicly declared that she does not know of any dress code in congress that would cause her guest to be arrested for non-compliance. It is clear that the action taken by the security authorities was prompted by the desire of the overzealous presidential guards to protect the president from an embarrassment that he has been running away from for some time now. The mention alone of Mrs. Sheehan's name must be turning these poor security agents into psychopaths to react the way they did. But the travesty committed against Mrs. Sheehan cannot be dismissed as purely an act of indiscretion by the president's guards. It goes beyond that. It was a violation of a citizen's right. It was a suppression of her right of expression. It is bad enough that this was committed by government operatives. It is worse that they pulled such a stunt in the hallowed halls of congress. If this is not a tyrannical practice that can only happen in dictatorships, what else is?
This reminds us of the old adage: "Tyrants exist only where there are slaves". Our honorable members of congress attending the State of the Union address knew exactly what was happening right in their midst and simply looked the other way. Like a bunch of sheep, being led to the slaughter house they allowed such a travesty to be consummated without a single peep from anyone of them. It portrayed the true state of the union more dramatically than the fairy tale that the neo-con friends of the president made him read to the people. If our law makers do not have the guts to stand up for the very laws that they have vowed to craft and uphold, who else will? As it is, January 31, 2006 will be marked in our history books as the day when our congress spat at our constitution without even knowing that it did. Shame on them.
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