Life in Bush’s America: Dissent will get your ass arrested.

Yesterday’s entry about the NYT Magazine article Without a Doubt confirmed one aspect of the Bush administration that should’ve been already clear to anyone who follows the daily news: Dissent from anyone is not allowed.

The Bush campaign has been very careful in screening the people who show up for the rallies they’ve scheduled throughout the campaign to ensure that the TV crews capture nothing other than unbridled support for the President, but occasionally someone who isn’t 100% enraptured with Bush manages to make it in and sometimes they speak up and when they do they risk being arrested and charged with a crime. The Bush campaign is so paranoid about keeping all dissenters away from the cameras that they’re even snagging Bush supporters if they think there’s even a hint of dissent to come from them. The latest example of this comes to us from Oregon where three teachers were escorted from a Bush rally and threatened with arrest for wearing t-shirts that said “Protect our Civil Liberties.” All three women were Bush supporters who held valid tickets for the event and didn’t have any plans to cause a disturbance, but apparently Bush’s people consider his supporters asking him to protect their civil liberties as being an unreasonable request:

The women said they did not intend to protest. “I wanted to see if I would be able to make a statement that I feel is important, but not offensive, in a rally for my president,” said Janet Voorhies, 48, a teacher in training.

“We chose this phrase specifically because we didn’t think it would be offensive or degrading or obscene,” said Tania Tong, 34, a special education teacher.

Thursday’s event in Oregon sets a new bar for a Bush/Cheney campaign that has taken extraordinary measures to screen the opinions of those who attend Bush and Cheney speeches. For months, the Bush/Cheney campaign has limited event access to those willing to volunteer in Bush/Cheney campaign offices. In recent weeks, the Bush/Cheney campaign has gone so far as to have those who voice dissenting viewpoints at their events arrested and charged as criminals.

At an earlier campaign stop for Vice President Cheney in Oregon 54-year-old Perry Patterson was escorted from the event after she yelled out “No” in response to a Cheney’s claim that Bush had made the world a safer place. She was arrested by police and charged with criminal trespass.

The stay-at-home-mom said she asked police how she could be considered a criminal trespasser when she had a ticket to attend the event.

The officer told Patterson that Monaco Coach personnel did not want her there, making her a criminal trespasser if she remained.

But police were unable to provide her with written notice or a Monaco representative to personally order her off the premises.

A Monaco spokesman did not return a phone call seeking comment.

One word got her a $250 misdemeanor charge. In West Virginia Nicole and Jeff Rank are arrested for wearing shirts that read “Love America, Hate Bush.” After their arrest for trespassing, Nicole was “let go” from her job at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In Florida three protesters at a Bush visit to Legends Field are arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing after they refused to put away signs calling for an investigation of the 2000 presidential election and reading “June is Gay Pride Month.” The list goes on and on and the message is clear: As long as Bush is in office you should keep your negative opinions of him or his policies away from any public appearances he might be making in your area.

23 thoughts on “Life in Bush’s America: Dissent will get your ass arrested.

  1. That kind of behavior from a political party really depresses me. I wish the media would cover these kinds of stories more. I’m curious to know if this is standard practice for most polical rallies and whatnot, or if the Bush Cheney administration is some wild aberration. Do things like this happen at Kerry rallies?

  2. That’s a good question and I plan on looking into it. I do think the Kerry campaign has set up the “free speech zones” in a similar manner to the Bush campaign, but I don’t recall reading about protesters at Kerry events being arrested. I fully admit that I may be letting my biases color that perception, though, so I plan to look into it.

  3. The Kerry Campaign does not vet participants at its rallies, nor does it require loyality oaths to participate.  The only thing close to the Bush/Rove tactics is that they place party operatives (and/or family members) towards the front, near camera view.

    Bush is extremely uncomfortable speaking to those who might not support him 100%, without adequate Clonapin.

  4. Unbelievable.  If this guy gets re-elected, can you imagine what he will do.  Bush, I believe has been held “in check” by the threat of not getting a second term.  Without that, his jack-booted tactics will likely increase.  So much for civil liberties!

    Resistance is Necessary

  5. Go figure, the Ministry of Truth (aka Bush [Mis]Administration) going after people for Thoughtcrime for protesting against the Ministry of Peace bringing more peace to Iraq?

    This guy has to go, and in a landslide. We can’t have a close race, Kerry needs to have a mandate to power to turn around the insanity that Bush, Rove and their cronies have wrought.

    How is wearing a T-Shirt equating to criminal tresspass? Seriously, these people should SUE THEIR ASSES OFF of the arresting officers, cities, secret service, whomever.


  6. My knowledge of politics is pretty limited, however, isn’t what Bush is doing a “lighter” form of what Saddam Hussein was doing back in Iraq?

    I have heard that Bush has dillusions of being a dictator himself. Maybe this is his way of obtaining that goal without being arrested for treason.

  7. I’ve been to a couple of Kerry rallies this year, one during the primaries where I actually got in (and got to meet him) and one over the summer that was overbooked and we ended up being stuck outside.  Nobody has to sign anything to get in.  We just walked up to the dem party headquarters here and asked for tickets both times, no questions asked.  The most recent one, there were protesters right up to the gates of the event, harrassing the people in line to get in.  All of Bowling Green was crawling with Kerry supporters and Bush supporters.  Nobody got hurt, nothing eventful happened outside the event, and a good time was had by all.

  8. And I forgot to mention that this Bush stuff has been going on since the beginning of his presidency.  When he came to town the week before 9/11/01, we went out to protest.  They tried to corral us into a free speech zone, which we refused to go into (we had valid tickets for the event, just decided to stand outside and protest instead).  We weren’t allowed to stand along the road the motorcade was going on with our protest signs, we were run all over campus by the UT police and the secret service came out to ‘persuade’ us to please follow the rules.  Other protesters did get arrested, simply for complaining that we were inside the perimeter of the building and they were stuck outside (again, our group had valid tickets).  We were just lucky this was before 9/11 when the paranoia hadn’t quite reached its full height.

  9. I like this account better:

    “Oregon Police Fire On Bystanders Watching Presidential Motorcade

    JACKSONVILLE, Ore. — Crawford, Texas is no stranger to protests and public gatherings, having provided a backdrop for such events for nearly four years now. Local and area law enforcement agencies have gained experience in protecting the Western White House and its famous inhabitants, and have devised a methodology for arranging for peaceful protests out of the sight and hearing of the president.
    But things got out of hand last week in Jacksonville, Ore., leaving some local residents there expressing fear of freely voicing their opinions.
    Some residents of Jacksonville feel that their First Amendment rights were taken away as they witnessed an encounter that resulted in pepper balls fired into crowds of men, women, and children as an abrupt “sweep

  10. This behaviour is atypical of the Bushies. Here in Pennsylvania, when Bush had a rally/speech at a high school in Harrisburg, PA, even pro-Kerry students were filtered out from attending said rally at their own school -during- school hours. Needless to say the media didn’t make much fanfare of it happening, but I spoke with several students afterwards who felt they had been completely abused by this. This president and his administration are disgraceful. The only thing I can compare this behaviour to is when the Nazi’s took power in Germany. Simply disgraceful.

  11. Something interesting I found since my last post:

    It describes what happened to the 1800 or so protesters (from someone who was arrested) during the RNC back in late August. Hell, according to this poor guy, you could have just been delivering pizza in the general area and you would have been arrested.

  12. The incidents in Jacksonville Oregon seem more reminiscent of the rebellions of the Bolsheviks and the Russian government back in 1917. Or the Chinese government’s action during Tiannamen Square. Repressive governments have no place in a democracy.
    There are two ways to put Bush on notice about this kind of behavior: to massively protest, so that there are not enough police officers and jails to hold anyone arrested. An example would be the million man march in the Washington Mall and the pro choice marches this past spring. if people are arrested for simply wearing tee shirts with varying slogans on them, then it tells the American people that a lot more is at stake.

    Nixon got pushed out of power because his own abuse; the same need to happen to George Bush.

    Bush and the police should also be prosecuted for violating their oath’s of office, which incudes swearing to defend and protect the Constitution, including the bill of rights.

    Bush must be held legally accountable for his actions, so that future presidents and leaders will think twice about engaging in this kind of behavior.

  13. there is a reason for tight security at rallies; and with tight security, bad things happen on occasion.  during the republican national convention, some liberal made a big scene on national television.  he could have disrupted the convention or started a freaking riot if he had not been dealt with swiftly.  for him to try steal tv time in an attempt to make bush look bad was just plain wrong.

    so what happens when one of these liberal fanatics sneaks into a bush guys shit stomp him?  do you think the police arrest him, or his assailants?  they arrest him for inciting a freaking riot.  then it’s all over the news that there was a riot at a bush rally and people start to wonder what kind of a candident would have a riot at one of his rallies.  they did the same basic shit in yugoslavia.  fuck, people.

  14. If it were a security issue, then anyone wearing a tee shirt or carrying a sign would have been arrested; the police action would have been used on both Bush and Kerry supporters. Because it was limited to Kerry supporters, it could be interpreted as suppressing dissent.

    The first amendment is not about liberal or conservative dissent; it is about all dissent. Everyone should be able to disagree with one another without fear of being arrested. That idea seems lost on the Bush Administration and the Republicans.

    What’s the old adage, persuade others by the strength of your argument, not by coercion.

    As for self censoring to protect one from the Secret Service, I don’t see anything written here close to violence

  15. If a “liberal fanatic” manages to sneak into a Bush rally, he’s not going to do it wearing a Kerry t-shirt or carry a Kerry/Edwards sign, now is he?

  16. GeekMom: ??  I’m not sure I took your comment the way you meant it.

    And my comment was almost troll-like in it’s construction. It should have read:

    “You have so few clues as to what you’re actually talking about, grey!”

    And it should have contained counter-arguments to grey’s statements.

    I would have done this but I’m tired and ruined by candy.

  17. Who needs counterarguments?  Just post a pretty picture

    Compassionate conservative braids protestor’s hair for her

    Sweet.  Inclusion is a wonderful thing.

    I was watching 60 minutes and I just saw footage of Schwarzenegger, at the RNC, calling people who were skeptical about the economy “economic girlie men.”  Then the camera panned out to a sea of white, gray-haired, paunchy men in expensive suits.

    Right.  I’m sure that a lot of those fuckers are currently unemployed and worrying about being evicted.  There’s a reason the economy doesn’t scare them Schwarzenegger; it’s their economy.  It sure as hell isn’t mine.

  18. As for self censoring to protect one from the Secret Service, I don’t see anything written here close to violence

    Neither did she. Just found it interesting.

  19. I thought the Republicans showed their true colors when WABC caught a man kicking a woman protestor while she was down on the floor, all on video:

    “Young Republican Kicks Female Protestor on Floor”
    The video is here:

    Other mentions of the incident here:

    Nothing like kicking a lady when she’s on the ground.  Classy.

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