Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Where Can I Get a Secret Service Lapel Pin?

Three people were removed from President Bush's Social Security town hall meeting at the Denver Wings Over the Rockies Museum last week by a Republican staffer dressed like a Secret Service agent, complete with lapel pin and earpiece.

Astonishingly, the Rocky Mountain News, Denver's conservative branch of its two-paper newspaper company, has the story today.

The three are members of a group called Denver Progressives. The reason the staffer physically removed them from the speech even though they had legitimate tickets received from Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez's office: a "No More Blood for Oil" bumper sticker on the SAAB they drove to the museum. Read the story in their words here.

What's more disturbing: the removal by a clearly misguided staffer playing security professional, or the fact that despite legit credentials for attendance, they were removed because of a bumper sticker?

Now, to be fair, the Progressives also wore "Stop the Lies" T-shirts under their business attire. And they admit having considered baring the shirts at the meeting. But the shirts were not visible before or during their removal.

What if these three had been Quakers who legitimately supported Bush for his Pro-life stance and wanted to hear his take on Social Security, for example, but absolutely (like Pat Buchanan seems to lean nowadays) opposed and oppose the war in Iraq? Can't a pacifist Bush supporter display a bumper sticker opposing war?

More importantly, what if these three--as they say they did--really wanted to hear Bush speak about Social Security? Or, as one of them said, wanted to be in the presence of a President, out of awe. The tickets were real. There was zero indication these three would disrupt the talk.

So, where does that leave us? This Repub. staffer had just the bumper sticker to go on? O.K. That's troublesome for First Amendment reasons. But what if the organizers of the event had more information than that? Two of the three Progressives were flagged as they went in and told not to cause a commotion or they would be arrested. Why? Is there some kind of database? Are members of the "Denver Progressives" on a list on some agent's Blackberry? Denver is all too familiar with such "spy files".


Anonymous Tomas el Grillo said...

I can't wait for us to begin shedding blood for methane, or ethanol. That will mean that the center of power has shifted out of Texas.

4:55 PM  
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3:54 AM  
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