Secret Service Tosses Those Donning Message T-shirts at Wisconsin King George Rally
Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News blogs about three Racine, Wisconsin, residents who were ejected by the Secret Service from a recent Bush rally, not because they were a threat to the president or because they verbally disrupted the affair, but because they donned T-shirts with the word "liar" on them. Keith Rosenberg, Michael Goebel and James Bremner said they signed the required pledge stating they supported Bush. They said they did not put on the their message T-shirts until Bush appeared on stage to speak. They claim they did not intend to riot, but intended to "hand it to [Bush] because the guy is a blatant liar."
We should be very concerned by happenings like this. The recent arrest of the mother of a dead soldier, Sue Neiderer, was probably the saddest example of what's happening out on the campaign trail. What this T-shirt story proves is that Bush is a danger, himself, to the political stability within our own nation. His policies and divisive leadership have apparently caused the Secret Service to have concerns, whether legitimate or not, about the safety of this president and his Loyalty-Oath audiences. It shows us that they believe there is such instability inside our nation that even a fresh-faced American college kid with a message T-shirt is a potential danger to anyone with conflicting opinions while in the same arena with this president. If that sounds ludicrous, it may be because it is. How did we get to this stifling point in American dissent and free speech rights?
I believe, if the overall political discussion was more open in the media and more reflective of the way America really thinks (rather than "rah-rah" Honeymoon Bush), there would not be such public frustration and conflict. I believe, if Bush rallies were open to the American public, regardless of political affiliation, the truth would be naturally and peacefully revealed. We'd hear some 'boos' and healthy democratic dissent. Instead, the Bush campaign is anti-democratic (while Bush spouts off about the value of freedom and democracy on the other side of the barricades). The campaign's Loyalty Oath policy creates confrontation.
And he's had plenty of time to think.
Here are some excerpts from his return column:
This war has been hugely mismanaged by this administration, in the face of clear advice to the contrary at every stage, and as a result the range of decent outcomes in Iraq has been narrowed and the tools we have to bring even those about are more limited than ever.
What I resent so much is that some of us actually put our personal politics aside in thinking about this war and about why it is so important to produce a different Iraq.
...from the beginning [Bush] has run Iraq policy as an extension of his political campaign.
Friends, I return to where I started: We're in trouble in Iraq. We have to immediately get the Democratic and Republican politics out of this policy and start honestly reassessing what is the maximum we can still achieve there and what every American is going to have to do to make it happen. If we do not, we'll end up not only with a fractured Iraq, but with a fractured America, at war with itself and isolated from the world.
"America is not always right -- that’s a fairy tale you tell your children. But America is always true. And it’s in seeking this truth that we find a deeper patriotism. Remember, the country we carry in our hearts is waiting."
"I'm not sentimental about anything. Life flows by, and you flow with it or you don't. Move on and move out."
Gore Vidal is 79 today. He has been recovering from an operation on his bad knee, which, for five years, threw off his gait, leaving both legs weakened. He lost his longtimes companion, Howard Austen, last year. Despite his weak legs, he maintains an active lecture schedule attended by much younger readers. He recently sold his 5,000-square-foot Italian villa after 30 years and has moved permanently to his other house, which is in Hollywood.