At least, not if you oppose the Iraq war:
WASHINGTON — Cindy Sheehan finally got her invitation to see President George W. Bush again, but before she set eyes on him at the State of the Union address, Capitol Police removed her from the gallery overlooking the House chamber.
The offense: her shirt, bearing an anti-war message and other “unlawful conduct,” police said.
I wonder what other t-shirts could get you arrested at the State of the Union speech? An old Kerry/Edwards shirt, perhaps? One that says “Defend our Civil Liberties”, maybe? That old standby, “Buck Fush”? On the other hand, would it be okay to wear a shirt with the message “I worked at the White House and all I got was this semen stained blue dress”? I’m just guessing here, but I bet that one might pass muster. Some speech is freer than others, you know.
Nonetheless, the legal issues presented are legion. For example, is it now illegal to wear such shirts only when the the President intends to speak before a joint session of Congress, or will such seditious t-shirts get you arrested any old day you happen to sit in the Senate or House galleries? Is the wearing of such shirts a prima facie violation of the law, or must you knowingly intend to embarrass the President or other republicans? I’m sure Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justices Alito, Scalia and Thomas have some thoughts on all this. I can’t wait for Cindy to make a federal case of her arrest so we can all benefit for their acumulated store of wisdom as to what constitutes appropriate apparel in the halls of Congress.
I guess we should have known it’s a major fashion faux pas to wear an anti-war shirt. What would Blackwell say?
Maybe if she’d just brought a dog instead, everything would have been all right, or maybe if Laura Bush had given her her ticket?
First lady Laura Bush’s guests at her husband’s annual address to Congress certainly were diverse. One, in fact, wasn’t even human.
Rex, a 5-year-old German shepherd, fit in with the other Iraq war veterans who were guests of Republicans and Democrats.
Ah to be young, and canine, eh?
Update [2006-2-1 8:57:25 by Steven D]: Cindy in her own words regarding the arrest: LINK
I had just sat down and I was warm from climbing 3 flights of stairs back up from the bathroom so I unzipped my jacket. I turned to the right to take my left arm out, when the same officer saw my shirt and yelled; “Protester.” He then ran over to me, hauled me out of my seat and roughly (with my hands behind my back) shoved me up the stairs. I said something like “I’m going, do you have to be so rough?” By the way, his name is Mike Weight.
The officer ran with me to the elevators yelling at everyone to move out of the way. When we got to the elevators, he cuffed me and took me outside to await a squad car. On the way out, someone behind me said, “That’s Cindy Sheehan.” At which point the officer who arrested me said: “Take these steps slowly.” I said, “You didn’t care about being careful when you were dragging me up the other steps.” He said, “That’s because you were protesting.” Wow, I get hauled out of the People’s House because I was, “Protesting.”
I was never told that I couldn’t wear that shirt into the Congress. I was never asked to take it off or zip my jacket back up. If I had been asked to do any of those things…I would have, and written about the suppression of my freedom of speech later. I was immediately, and roughly (I have the bruises and muscle spasms to prove it) hauled off and arrested for “unlawful conduct.”