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Sheehan arrested for... protesting.
September 26, 2005 11:15 AM   Subscribe

Sheehan arrested for... protesting. Will the ACLU please, PLEASE take this case up to the highest courts in the land. Enough with the police intimidation and ritual abuse of power.
posted by trinarian (137 comments total)

 
Good for Sheehan. That's what civil disobedience is all about. A high school teacher of mine used to be president of the Maryland chapter of the ACLU, and all of his best civil-rights-movement stories ended with "...and then the cops showed up and hauled us all off to jail." I wonder if Bush, Cheney and Rove have any beliefs they'd be willing to go to jail over?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:19 AM on September 26, 2005


Arrested for not moving along. It helps her cause when she is arrested, but don't chalk this up to a ritual abuse of power.
posted by jragon at 11:20 AM on September 26, 2005


damn hippies
posted by tiamat at 11:21 AM on September 26, 2005


Arrested for not moving along. It helps her cause when she is arrested, but don't chalk this up to a ritual abuse of power.
posted by jragon at 11:20 AM PST on September 26


Yeah seriously protesting in one place is old and busted; you should be arrested unless you just show up for thirty seconds and leave.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:24 AM on September 26, 2005


Christ what a shit post. Who cares? She...broke...the...law. No one said she couldn't protest. The police informed her several times she was in violation of a (presumably) accurate statute likely along the lines of obstucting a pedestrian thoroughfare or something similar, she ignored them, and they carted her ass off.

Flagged. GYOB.
posted by docpops at 11:25 AM on September 26, 2005


I hate to see this, and I do hope the ACLU takes it up, but can't we get more for an FPP than a half-page article? What's the history of this lately? Is there an online repository of stories of arrested protesters? What's the current thinking on "free speech zones" (sic), and the right to free congress?

I'm serious, I'm completely behind the sentiment, but that doesn't make this a good FPP.
posted by OmieWise at 11:26 AM on September 26, 2005


Matt can u limit this thread to 50 comments? Less headaches then
posted by wheelieman at 11:26 AM on September 26, 2005


I wasn't trying to pile on, docpops' comment wasn't there when I wrote mine.
posted by OmieWise at 11:27 AM on September 26, 2005


I'll bet the police had no idea who she was, just thought she was some protester. In fact, I'm certain I wouldn't be able to recognize her, and I consider myself pretty well informed. I'm with jragon.
posted by Plutor at 11:27 AM on September 26, 2005


The police informed her several times she was in violation of a (presumably) accurate statute likely along the lines of obstucting a pedestrian thoroughfare or something similar

So making sure everyone can use the sidewalk unimpeded is more important than peaceful protest? Glad our priorities are in order.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:31 AM on September 26, 2005


"Police intimidation"? Come on, this is clearly an arrest for publicity. I'm not dissing the tactic; it's time-honored. But don't try telling me the protesters didn't know exactly what they were doing. And after the way the cops broke up her NYC speech, reportedly shoving her around while arresting the organizer for not having a loudspeaker permit, calling *this* a case of police intimidation is slightly ridiculous.
posted by mediareport at 11:32 AM on September 26, 2005


I'll bet the police had no idea who she was, just thought she was some protester. In fact, I'm certain I wouldn't be able to recognize her, and I consider myself pretty well informed. I'm with jragon.

Or possibly the cops were actually supports and knew full well that arresting her would blow up. Because I can't see any other reason for arresting her or any of these protestors. Yeah, perhaps what they were doing was illegal by some lame statute that is ONLY pulled out when they can't nail you for something else.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:32 AM on September 26, 2005


I have mixed feelings about this. As someone who has been repeatedly arrested at protests (including the infamous DC "pre-emptive arrest" in 2003) I feel that high-profile celebrity civil disobedience at a mega-rally is misguided.

When the police are willing to repeatedly use force on non-violent protesters who are not commiting civil disobedience but are merely protesting, why bother to commit the classic sit down? A new movement needs new techniques and this form of civil disobedience comes from a different time.
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:32 AM on September 26, 2005


I think what everyone except Faint of Butt is missing is that, well, sometimes, protestors, you know, are actually TRYING to get arrested, you know, ON PURPOSE and stuff.

And besides, this is, indeed, a shite MeFi post. Sorry.
::cough...newsfilter::
posted by NedKoppel at 11:33 AM on September 26, 2005


mediareport is right. I know people who were planning to basically go out and get arrested today as a statement. I don't think it's a terribly effective tactic, but it is a badge of honor in some left circles to have been arrested in a protest. I'm mildly surprised that Sheehan decided to go through with this, but it's absolutely a purposeful act.
posted by graymouser at 11:36 AM on September 26, 2005


From what I've seen on real news sites, Sheehan was trying to get arrested. She and the other protestors sat down in the middle of the walkway, which is in violation of the law. They're allowed to protest, but there are statutes that spell out what they are and aren't allowed to do while protesting.
posted by cerebus19 at 11:36 AM on September 26, 2005


Christ what a shit post. Who cares? She...broke...the...law. No one said she couldn't protest.

What law? Every time I've been to DC there are always people staked out on Pennsylvania Ave, right in front of the White House. They aren't arrested. There is a woman there who is staked out 24/7, for 20 some odd years.
posted by undule at 11:38 AM on September 26, 2005


"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
posted by klangklangston at 11:39 AM on September 26, 2005


From what I've seen on real news sites,

The AP Wire isn't real news?
posted by undule at 11:40 AM on September 26, 2005


What kind of pinko liberal Commie book are you quoting, klangklangston?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:40 AM on September 26, 2005


I took part in one of the protests on Saturday. There was a fair turnout for the size of my town.

But I kept thinking that I was not having an impact, and that possibly blocking traffic, turning over a few cars, maybe disrupting people arriving for a nearby football game would have been more effective than just standing there getting our cumbayayas out. But I just stood there, chanted a bit, had a minute of silence, hugged a few friends and went on with my day, as seemingly everyone did.

There just seems to be insufficient anger towards the whole political situation today (if you are aghast at what this administriation has been up to for the past 5 years . . .if you like it, well that is your opinion and you are entitled to it).
posted by Danf at 11:43 AM on September 26, 2005


Speaking of pet peeves:
Matt can u limit this thread to 50 comments? Less headaches then
I think you mean "fewer headaches then."
posted by DenOfSizer at 11:44 AM on September 26, 2005


There is another mother stirring trouble for the war mongers - Mary Tillman, Pat Tillman's mom. It was interesting to see that uber-patriot Pat Tillman read Chomsky and thought that the Iraq was was illegal.
posted by caddis at 11:46 AM on September 26, 2005


Does docpops have any idea what civil disobedience is? Thoreau broke the law too.

"Christ what a shit post. Who cares? She...broke...the...law."

I suppose you think that we should not care if our countrymen are being detained thanks to an unjust and possibly unconstitutional law or through an institutionalized system promoting abuse of executive power whenever possible, i.e. whenever they won't get caught or the political cost is not too high. Ignorance like your's will one day strip us all of our most basic rights, such as the right to simply be in a public place.
posted by BlueWolf at 11:47 AM on September 26, 2005


haha what faint of butt said.
posted by nola at 11:50 AM on September 26, 2005


you think that we should not care if our countrymen are being detained thanks to an unjust and possibly unconstitutional law or through an institutionalized system promoting abuse of executive power whenever possible, i.e. whenever they won't get caught or the political cost is not too high. Ignorance like your's will one day strip us all of our most basic rights, such as the right to simply be in a public place. - Bluewolf

Wholeheartdly agree. This is nothing of the sort. It's bullshit and about as much a barometer of widespread civil rights abuse as a boil on your ass is an indicator of an incipient Staph epidemic.
posted by docpops at 11:51 AM on September 26, 2005


Ignorance like your's

Oh heavens.
posted by S.C. at 11:52 AM on September 26, 2005


I think this is a lousy post. Man, I don't want to read this. Nor do I want to read the thread.
BUT WAIT!
I have nothing better to do!


I don't think the law against loitering is that unfair. Nor does it seem as though it was unwarrented in it's use here. Sitting down on the sidewalk tends to get the cops attention (unless you're dressed in 4th hand clothes) . I'd agree that it seems she wanted to get arrested to get attention.
I'd agree with the sentiment that she broke the law. I disagree with the "who cares?" part of that though.

The commitment to this debate on the part of the American public needs to be raised. Some people's brothers, sisters, sons and daughters are dying. Whether you think it's for a good cause or for shitty reasons, the least you could do is give a damn.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:53 AM on September 26, 2005


So you're sayin' BlueWolf has staph o' the ass?
posted by NationalKato at 11:54 AM on September 26, 2005


Spectacular post, trinarian.

"Enough with the police intimidation and ritual abuse of power"?

Enough with the drama queenery & ritual abuse of MeFi.
posted by dhoyt at 11:55 AM on September 26, 2005


I suppose you think that we should not care if our countrymen are being detained thanks to an unjust and possibly unconstitutional law or through an institutionalized system promoting abuse of executive power whenever possible

Actually, I think that we should not care if people who want to be arrested actually end up getting arrested.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:56 AM on September 26, 2005


It was just a publicity stunt. Anything that gets the anti-war message into the media is a good think in my book. Go Cindy go.
posted by caddis at 11:57 AM on September 26, 2005


If two million American heroes were willing to go out and get arrested to protest against America's descent into dictatorship, they'd double the jail population. It probably still wouldn't pose a substantial threat to the system. Three million might.

I don't think getting arrested is a particularly good tactic for movement-building, because it makes middle-of-the-road people more afraid to go to demos.

However, for an individual, it's cathartic. Once you've been hauled off to jail, beaten up, and let out a few hours, days, or weeks later, you know there's nothing more they can do to you, and a lot of fear evaporates. The less afraid you are, the more creative you become.

Respect to Cindy Sheehan and all the other brave Americans who got arrested today.
posted by cleardawn at 11:58 AM on September 26, 2005


Small point: she was charged with demonstrating without a permit. Most loitering laws have been struck down as unconstitutionally vague.
posted by caddis at 12:04 PM on September 26, 2005


I don't know if there's even a debate here. She clearly wanted to be arrested to get in the news. Mission accomplished. If they really want the war to end they need to work it from the inside with lobbyists and special interest groups. Fight fire with fire.
posted by geoff. at 12:05 PM on September 26, 2005


/further derail
- seriously - why post anything if you don't care or if you think it sucks? Just ignore it.
...but of course, you can't masterbate at work (unless you're in the new FBI porn seeking program)

/back on

I think Sheehan's doing good work keeping the issue in folk's heads. If it was my kid, I'd probably have a few questions. I suspect the apathy (sometimes seen here) would piss me off more than anything else.
Indeed, people shouted "we don't care" at her.

This seems similar. Agressively not caring.

I suspect people use that stance because they are too cowardly to commit themselves to some course of action that might entail sacrifice, of even the smallest bit of their free time or resources.
God Forbid they'd have to actually enlist or anything in a cause they supposedly "believe" in.

Sheehan is a painful reminder of that, just by remaining in public. I disagree with a few of the things she has said, but I respect her for keeping the sacrifice part of the war in people's face. No one wants to hear about it it seems.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:05 PM on September 26, 2005


The legitmacy of the arrest should not be in question - there is law regarding this act, and it is a very loosely interpreted. You could be minding your own business standing on the sidewalk, and you wont get arrested. But during a protest, you are now breaking the law. Anyone who has every been to a rally knows this, and this shouldn't come as a shock.
posted by iamck at 12:06 PM on September 26, 2005


"she was charged with demonstrating without a permit."

Ah. Well that is bullshit then. Constitution who?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:06 PM on September 26, 2005


Its strange that they have outlawed protesting outside the White House in the name of security. Isn't this country still the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave? Or is that just a nice slogan?
posted by fenriq at 12:09 PM on September 26, 2005


We have Free Speech Zones, not free speech.
posted by caddis at 12:10 PM on September 26, 2005


I still have to dissent. Compare this picture with this one Don't be fooled into thinking that Cindy's arrest is in any way typical. Thousands of people have gone to jail for their beliefs while opposing this war, many of whom have been pepper sprayed, tasered, attacked by police dogs, beaten up, and detained for days without bail.

There was an anti-war movement before Cindy Sheehan. She speaks for nobody but herself and while I respect her and want her to keep campaigning, let's not miss the forest for one tree. She's a lone voice among hundreds of thousands, all of this focus on her is distorting what's really going on.
posted by allen.spaulding at 12:11 PM on September 26, 2005


More ink for Cindy at the expense of a son who chose to fight for his country. Too bad his blood is providing her with a very comfortable living.
posted by shockingbluamp at 12:11 PM on September 26, 2005


Danf : But I kept thinking that I was not having an impact, and that possibly blocking traffic, turning over a few cars, maybe disrupting people arriving for a nearby football game would have been more effective than just standing there getting our cumbayayas out.

Depends on what you mean by "impact." Sure, you would probably make more people aware of why you were there, but you can also stir up a lot of resentment when you get in the way of people going about their business, especially since it seems that most people have already chosen sides in this, and aren't likely to change their minds based on being disrupted by a few protesters outside a football game. They might actually be less likely to consider the other side if they get the impression that the anti-war people are all crazy nutcases.
posted by Godbert at 12:12 PM on September 26, 2005


I have really started to wonder why I am developing an ambivalence to Cindy Sheehan. I am unabashedly opposed to the stupidity of Bush's grandiose exercise in proving himself to Daddy and his cronies. I have begun seeing the PTSD and amputee victims in my practice, even. And yet I can't help feeling that she is a wholly ineffectual emblem of protest. I can't muster the slightest dismay over her arrest. She's a distraction and too easy of a target for the right.
posted by docpops at 12:12 PM on September 26, 2005


So... what about all the other "newsfilter" links posted even today alone?

I've got it! Let's just start a MeTa thread for every other FPP.
posted by wakko at 12:14 PM on September 26, 2005


That sound you hear is Shrub flushing away the Bill of Rights after having had a complete and thorough wipe.
posted by clevershark at 12:18 PM on September 26, 2005


shockingbluamp writes "Too bad his blood is providing her with a very comfortable living."

It's so much more patriotic to spit on a dead soldier's mom!
posted by clevershark at 12:20 PM on September 26, 2005


She's a lone voice among hundreds of thousands, all of this focus on her is distorting what's really going on.

Yeah, but people are actually listening to her.
posted by caddis at 12:21 PM on September 26, 2005


How could they arrest her after three warnings? Don't they know her son died in the war?!?!

This was planned. Mission accomplished, indeed.
posted by rocket88 at 12:22 PM on September 26, 2005


i agree it's not the best FPP, but it did give cleardawn a chance to write a very enlightening comment. well said.

as for the arrests, on the one hand, it's a fair cop - they certainly knew they were going to be arrested. on the other hand, go sit down on the sidewalk for two hours today. see if you get arrested. you won't. it was obviously politically motivated. in my mind pretty much everyone involved was being silly.

but the idea that the real threat to pedestrians is large groups of pedestrians as opposed to all the cars that are choking the city and crowding out walking spaces is a bit of a gigantic blind spot. authorities only ever seem to express concern for pedestrians when they're arresting people. the rest of the time they couldn't care less.
posted by poweredbybeard at 12:22 PM on September 26, 2005


"...at the expense of a son who chose to fight for his country"

That's the debate I mean shockingbluamp. Certainly there are pro-war folks and there is and was as allen.spaulding pointed out an anti-war movement long before she showed up.

Sheehan is a bit of a pickle because her son did choose to serve. The bone of contention her is not simply opposition to 'war', but questioning the legitimacy of this particular conflict.

It's too easy to write this off as so many people have done. I suspect many people are numb to it because the press has decided to portray her as some sort of touchy feely mom, while ignoring the large questions raised.

Hate Bush or love him, this isn't a black and white issue. There are deep considerations of policy and government accountability raised here. I certainly would not want to be told "Son, you're fighting for freedom" then go off to, say, Venezuela or some place and watching my Colonel taking advice from some Exxon executive.

Certainly it's not all like that, but these matters need to be investigated, discussed, considered...and they're not.

But let's get back to the shouting of slogans at each other, shall we?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:22 PM on September 26, 2005


or the right of the people peaceably to assemble

I'm all for it, but how 'bout moving a little off the sidewalk so I can, you know, walk? All this rhetoric about free speech. Just move to the side.

America's descent into dictatorship

Again, another onion headline. In not too long, you'll be able to vote a dem into office cleardawn. No more dictatorship, homeless, or starving children. All will be right in your world.
posted by justgary at 12:31 PM on September 26, 2005


Metafilter: unconstitutionally vague.
posted by drfu at 12:38 PM on September 26, 2005


Let her stew in prison ALAP.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:40 PM on September 26, 2005


Yes, it's a very comfortable living in jail, or living in a tent by the roadside, waking up every morning knowing your son has been killed. Man, she must be laughing.

I noticed the CNN article described Cindy Sheehan as "the mother who has used her son's death to bolster the anti-war movement".

That word "used" is so phoney and loaded here. Sheehan responded to her son's death by joining the anti-war movement, she didn't "use" it. The word "use" implies that her anti-war efforts are more important to her than her son, which somehow, I doubt.

On the other hand, it would be completely honest and accurate to talk about George Bush, the unelected President (read the link, justgary) who has used the deaths of thousands, and caused the deaths of thousands more, including Cindy Sheehan's son, to promote his personal corporate agenda.

But somehow I think we'll be waiting a while before we see that on supposedly "liberal" CNN.
posted by cleardawn at 12:43 PM on September 26, 2005


ParisParamus: Thanks for yet another super-insightful post.
posted by wakko at 12:58 PM on September 26, 2005


There has never been an unrestricted "freedom of speech," and the First Amendment has never been interpreted that way. For decades, it has been the constitutional law of the United States that reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions can be placed on speech. What cannot be restricted is the content of speech (with certain flagrant exceptions).
posted by pardonyou? at 12:59 PM on September 26, 2005


Surprised to hear you say that Paris, since the arrest can only garner her more press coverage.

Those who argue over the legality of her arrest miss the point of her civil disobedience. She put herself at risk of arrest so that she could make a point: The war in Iraq is unjust. Isn't that message enough? Stop trying to add to this woman's martyrdom -- it just seems phony.
posted by eatitlive at 1:06 PM on September 26, 2005


This is a crappy post. I can read the newspaper myself, thanks.
posted by about_time at 1:07 PM on September 26, 2005


This whole business of trying to get arrested still strikes me as stupid, regardless of who does it or why. It's especially stupid as an "anti-establishment protest" technique: you hate Big Brother so much that you invite it to exercise even more power over you than it was already? Oh brother.

It's also offensive because most people who get arrested, whether they break any law or not, are poor people who can't afford good legal help, can't count on kid-glove treatment from the police and jailers, nor can they expect to be released on bail within a few hours to stand in front of TV cameras among dozens of similarly clean-cut middle-class supporters and brag about what a big and noble "sacrifice" they just made. "Civil disobedience" by "nice" white people is itself an example of their favored position in the class and race hierarchies: the rest of us look at them like they're nuts because since we don't have their "advantages" we try to NOT get arrested. When you're not already "Special" getting arrested and locked up is rather unpleasant.

"Civil disobedience" was a brave and noble tactic when the blacks of the Civil Rights movement did it in the South 50 years ago; now it's a coopted sham, a mummery of privilege. In the past 50 years it's become clear that those who are really oppressed have to FIGHT the Power, not lay down in front of it.
posted by davy at 1:08 PM on September 26, 2005


In not too long, you'll be able to vote a dem into office cleardawn. No more dictatorship, homeless, or starving children.

Like hawk-shill Clinton? Like any other Democrat who voted for USAPATRIOT, voted to cede their right and duty to declare war to the president?

Failures with blood on their hands. Quislings who were in a position to stop this tailspin, but were too worried about their personal reps.

The Democrats will NOT save us.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:09 PM on September 26, 2005


The Democrats will NOT save us.

Well, there are these things called primaries, where you get to help choose your candidate...
posted by unreason at 1:11 PM on September 26, 2005


"But let's get back to the shouting of slogans at each other, shall we?"

"... All will be right in your world."
"Let her stew in prison ALAP."


Good Lord I'm a prophet!



I'm slowly, but inexorably, sliding toward the conclusion that the only way to make people of one mind is to smash their heads together.



But, in the sloganeering/kneejerk/ lack of reason vein - if you're so pro-war that you hate Sheehan, then pick up a weapon and stand a post you REMFing pussies. She has the guts to take the hits for her convictions, best the opposition can muster is to weep that her son was so brave. Uh huh. Where were you when your country needed you? Where are you now with enlistment figures down? Where the hell is the balls to consider this - in any reasoned way that affects you? Been to lots of pro-war rallies have you?




....yeah, that's what I thought.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:11 PM on September 26, 2005


"This is a crappy post.
posted by about_time "

nice use of self-reference.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:13 PM on September 26, 2005


pardonyou: "There has never been an unrestricted "freedom of speech," and the First Amendment has never been interpreted that way. For decades..."

wow--"for decades," you say.

boy, that's a long time. almost as long as "never"--but not quite.

by your reckoning, the idea that we don't have an unrestrained right to free speech seems to go way back to the last time the US government wanted to suppress dissent against an unpopular war...
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 1:13 PM on September 26, 2005


Well, there are these things called primaries, where you get to help choose your candidate...

Sure... If by "help" you mean getting to pick the least repulsive choice from among the five or six jackasses the party bosses picked out for us.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 1:16 PM on September 26, 2005


I agree.
posted by davy at 1:19 PM on September 26, 2005


It's no use arguing with them.

They simply don't get it : with righteous indignation they say "they should not be protesting but peacefully ! " and when they peacefully protest "they shouldn't be messing with others not willing to protest ! Go away from my block " and when they move around the city they say "You shouldn't stop the traffic of the whole city" and when they stand in still in their little corner "You shouldn't be loitering on the sidewalk as you obstruct my passage ! "

So you see they yap a lot about their freedom and your obstruction of their freedom, yet they don't mind if your freedom is obstructed by their..but hey don't touch their freedom or they'll cry foul and ask police to arrest you, as they can't be inconvenienced.

No wonder they're constantly bitch slapped by either govt or corporation, they're lazy bitches.
posted by elpapacito at 1:19 PM on September 26, 2005


docpops: She's a distraction and too easy of a target for the right.

Is that the criterion we're going to use? (Because Jesus Christ could come down on a cloud with a choir of angels and the Right would call him a bastard and his mom a whore if it suited thier purpose.)
posted by MikeKD at 1:21 PM on September 26, 2005


Would someone explain to me why "But Casey Sheehan chose to serve" is an argument to disrespect Cindy Sheehan's response to the loss of her son?

I want brave, generous Americans to choose to serve their country in the military.

And I want everyone whom they serve to get mad as hell when their lives are thrown away by morons and liars.
posted by gum at 1:30 PM on September 26, 2005


Well, actually, if you wanted to trace the jurisprudence of the "time, place, and manner" restriction, you'd probably go back to Schneider v. State of New Jersey in 1939, which began the discussion of what constituted a "public forum." You'd also find that the 20th century saw a dramatic expansion of First Amendment rights (how "free" do you think speech was in the early 1800s?)

But that would require, you know, knowledge and stuff.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:41 PM on September 26, 2005


Whoops. My post was in response to this comment from all-seeing eye dog:

by your reckoning, the idea that we don't have an unrestrained right to free speech seems to go way back to the last time the US government wanted to suppress dissent against an unpopular war...

posted by pardonyou? at 1:42 PM on September 26, 2005


Sheenan will now be forgotten. Her arrest will be effective: ain't no ordinary Americans gonna risk getting themselves arrested in protest of the war, when they can just bitch about it online and over the water cooler.

America is completely incapable of citizen action.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:50 PM on September 26, 2005


fivefish : wrong, indeed America is capable and one proof is Sheenan, even if it took the death of a son ; the other 50 arrested I guess are only the tip of the iceberg. Question is, rather, what is going to motivate the other ?
posted by elpapacito at 2:01 PM on September 26, 2005


They're allowed to protest, but there are statutes that spell out what they are and aren't allowed to do while protesting only in the way the government allows them to protest.

The government continues to chip away at our freedoms and we argue amongst ourselves about whether what Sheehen did was legal or appropriate. Gosh was her sign the allowable size? Did she stay within her designated area? Did she use the government-approved language? Did she fill out the proper forms in triplicate so she could sit down?

Fuck that noise.

She has done the right thing and I am proud of her.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:07 PM on September 26, 2005


Would you like to buy a t-shirt to better voice that pride?
posted by Witty at 2:08 PM on September 26, 2005


You can always count on the crypto-fascists to come up with some inane equivocation.

If no one finds it insightful, it was a "joke".
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:10 PM on September 26, 2005


FFF stated...."America is completely incapable of citizen action."

People said Sheehan (not "Sheenan" as you noted), was done when she couldn't see Bush in Texas, and again when she protested and worked in NOLA, and look at this, she brought over 100,000 people to DC.... If anything this is growing.

FFF...you're wrong... this country was founded on "citizen action", and we've taken that route a number of times, and it has made a difference.

And, I believe it will make a difference again, otherwise I would be living next door to you! (which I wouldn't mind, I actually like you folks up there!)
posted by HuronBob at 2:11 PM on September 26, 2005


... many of whom have been pepper sprayed, tasered, attacked by police dogs, beaten up, and detained for days without bail.

Well, she lost her son, so she's more than earned her stripes. I would guess that she would face the dogs and pepper spray too, but she has achieved a high enough profile that it's not likely.

She's a distraction and too easy of a target for the right.

She's got some pretty powerful medicine if she was able to disrupt the Bush vacation. And for weeks on end, she's managed to shift the national dialogue to the war and the war's casualties. Not too shabby.

Figureheads, icons, symbols of a movement don't always choose the limelight, they are often thrust there by events - in her case, the loss of her son. And when real people are catapulted to the forefront, they are rarely focus-group perfect. I will take Cindy with her rough edges and unpolished message over the slick PR propaganda and orchestrated photo ops that are our daily fare any day. I think she's held up pretty well in the face of the rovian reputation shredders and the fox fascists. She's holding her own despite the fact that some of the most powerful forces and powerful people in the world are arrayed against her ... she's certainly doing a better job than most of the people I voted for.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:43 PM on September 26, 2005


"And if there were a contest, and he had to compete in measuring the shadows with the prisoners who had never moved out of the den, while his sight was still weak, and before his eyes had become steady (and the time which would be needed to acquire this new habit of sight might be very considerable) would he not be ridiculous? Men would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not even to think of ascending; and if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put him to death."
posted by klangklangston at 3:03 PM on September 26, 2005


Cindy who?
posted by Neologian at 3:11 PM on September 26, 2005


Ah, Plato!
posted by ericb at 3:22 PM on September 26, 2005


I'll believe the citizens of America can get up and take back control of their country from the religionist and corporatist wingnuts when I see it happen.

'cause from my outsider's viewpoint, this shit has been coming down the line for a long, long time now and the citizens of America did sweet fuck all to bring it to a stop. I see no reason to believe that this time is any different.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:29 PM on September 26, 2005


America is completely incapable of citizen action.

This is pretty amusing coming from a Canadian.

Don't get me wrong—Canada's a great place. But John Q. Public isn't any more in control there than here.

posted by oaf at 3:40 PM on September 26, 2005


and a note: the Republican party has been hijacked by the extremists for how long now, twenty or thirty years? I'm pretty damn sure the original Republican party was a far different beast, judging by everything I've read about its past policies. It's a recent take-over by an ugly minority, and no one did anything about it.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:41 PM on September 26, 2005


Klangklangston is right on here, because this is about performing an allegory exposing the conflict between "perfect" rule and perfectable justice.

Hence the whining, desperate, dehumanizing tone -- at least to me -- evident in the vituperative attacks on Sheehan by Administration apologists. A grief-stricken mother clearly has the more powerful metaphor on her side.

Allegorical superiority, however, may not be sufficient to the task (c.f. The Republic, et al.).
posted by Haruspex at 3:41 PM on September 26, 2005


The Guardian says the UK is going to begin removing their troops from Iraq in May. At least someone is listening.
posted by 517 at 3:43 PM on September 26, 2005


Would you like to buy a t-shirt to better voice that pride?
posted by Witty at 5:08 PM EST on September 26 [!]


Ah, the desperate wit of the sad clown.


posted by Rothko at 4:02 PM on September 26, 2005


Surely pardonyou isn't the only one to have heard of the phrase "time, place, and manner"?
posted by jaysus chris at 4:08 PM on September 26, 2005


"Civil disobedience" was a brave and noble tactic when the blacks of the Civil Rights movement did it in the South 50 years ago; now it's a coopted sham, a mummery of privilege.

Ah, bullshit. If we went out TODAY and blockaded the freeways, ports, and other means of transportation, and economically shutdown this country, you'd see civil disobedience in action.
posted by iamck at 4:44 PM on September 26, 2005


Heh. The next set of course readings that I'm tackling is on Russian transitionary politics, so don't expect as many classic quotes...
posted by klangklangston at 6:02 PM on September 26, 2005


Bush, Cheney and Rove have any beliefs they'd be willing to go to jail over?

Oh yes indeed they do, such as believing that it is okay to invade foreign nations for any reason they choose, or failing to secure residents of a largely African-American city, because they could not defeat their own bigotry in time to think things through in any moral or legal sense. Though these beliefs and acts are illegal, they are in no danger of going to jail for their criminal acts or beliefs, not just yet, anyway.
posted by Oyéah at 6:06 PM on September 26, 2005


. . . and oil, do not forget the oil Oyéah.
posted by caddis at 6:08 PM on September 26, 2005


Funny how so many people have an issue with this FPP, but you may have noticed that it has generated more MeFi community feedback than any other post today.

Hmmm...
posted by canucklehead at 6:23 PM on September 26, 2005


This is a crappy post. I can read the newspaper myself, thanks.
posted by about_time at 9:07 PM GMT on September 26 [!]

Metafilter : We read the news so you don't have to.

:)
posted by kaemaril at 6:26 PM on September 26, 2005


now it's a coopted sham, a mummery of privilege.

I'd like to suggest that the phrase "mummery of privilege" is a mummery of privilege...

pardonyou wrote: But that would require, you know, knowledge and stuff.

But before that, pardonyou also wrote: There has never been an unrestricted "freedom of speech," and the First Amendment has never been interpreted that way. For decades, it has been the constitutional law of the United States that reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions can be placed on speech.

Sorry if I'm mistaken, pardonyou, but wasn't it you who originally said that the notion of limits on protected speech has been around "for decades" (as in the second quoted passage above)? I'm pretty sure I only quoted you directly in my comments, without embellishing, so I'm not really sure whose lack of knowledge you're grousing about here...

But anyway, the point still stands: 1939 was not "forever" ago. That's all I said. If you don't have a quarrel with that, I suggest you back off (and you know what? I'd suggest it anyway).

My personal sense is that free-speech zones and many of the other trappings of the modern "kinder, gentler" variety of free speech mark us as a weak, degenerate culture, nearing its decline--these kinds of de factor legal restrictions (and the bizarre contortions of common sense used to justify them) on the right to free assembly are wholly inconsistent with the ribald, rabble-rousing spirit of the American revolution and the true, vital democracy that formed in its aftermath.

Hell, permits aren't needed to protest in India! And forget medicinal marijuana--the scandanavians can smoke pot with impunity! How can we claim to be the "Land of the Free" in light of the increasing numbers of conspicuously freer countries in the world today? And if we aren't the land of the free any more, just what the hell are we?
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 6:27 PM on September 26, 2005


um, strike "de factor"; insert "de facto"...
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 6:29 PM on September 26, 2005


all-seeing eye dog wrote: And if we aren't the land of the free any more, just what the hell are we?

(And before you pounce, I'm painfully aware we've never actually lived up to the "Land of the Free" ideal--but at least we all used to agree it was the ideal...)
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 6:31 PM on September 26, 2005


Funny how so many people have an issue with this FPP, but you may have noticed that it has generated more MeFi community feedback than any other post today.

Unlike all the "this post sucks" chuckleheads, I liked it, and I liked it because it would lead to good discussion. No place discusses important political issues better than MeFi. Unlike the left and right wing echo-chambers this place has balance. It tilts way left, but has balance.

I would hope for a more intelligent spokesperson than Cindy Sheehan. However, all of the so-called intelligent anti-war people have fallen flat with the public. Cindy has a message that resonates with the average person, and amazingly it seems to resonate even with people who initially supported the war. I love it. Her message is simple, real, and from the heart. Despite the best efforts of many high powered pro-war thugs, the public still listens. She is not in this for personal glory, so the traditional Rovian tactics don't work as well. They are mostly used to make you disbelieve the messenger due to the messenger's bias. Cindy's bias is that her son is dead. Work with that one Karl.
posted by caddis at 6:34 PM on September 26, 2005


here, here, caddis!

one last thing for pardonyou, who wrote: it has been the constitutional law of the United States that reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions can be placed on speech.

Yep: That's judicial activism for you.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 6:44 PM on September 26, 2005


Cindy Who?
posted by a3matrix at 7:06 PM on September 26, 2005


a3matrix, that would be a double. Can't you be more creative in your insults?
posted by caddis at 7:22 PM on September 26, 2005


Perhaps you should try "Nah" "Nah" next time.
posted by caddis at 7:23 PM on September 26, 2005


In a place where there is a tightly-defined "free speech zone", the area which does not lie within that zone is necessarily a place in which speech is not free.
posted by clevershark at 7:36 PM on September 26, 2005


she was charged with demonstrating without a permit.

I totally don't understand how they can require a permit for political protest.
posted by Mitheral at 7:52 PM on September 26, 2005


I totally don't understand how they can require a permit for political protest.

Maybe the ACLU can explain it for you.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:02 PM on September 26, 2005


ParisParamus writes "Let her stew in prison ALAP."

'I will not take the thing from your hand.'
posted by Mitheral at 8:15 PM on September 26, 2005


But iamck, that's not what's happening: the Sheehan & Friends bust was a bunch of "nice" middle-class people volunteering to get arrested for blocking a sidewalk. That's not exactly a general strike. It is something they're so willing to do because they know that being the right kind of protester means they won't be teargassed, attacked by dogs, shot with rubber bullets, or worse.

We will not take back our country from the corporatist state by such tactics. For one thing, prisons are big business: if so many "protesters" volunteer to get arrested that the capacity to hold them is strained, that'll just be an excuse to build more and bigger jails and prisons. "Something must be done with all those surrender-monkey liberals who give aid and comfort to Al Qaida!"

In fact, Kentucky's politicians have for a dozen years or so been trying to bolster eastern Kentucky's economy by building more prisons; maybe we should encourage more civil disobedience by those who disagree with our Dear Leader just to provide more work for impoverished hillbillies. If it would help our economy to gratify their need to be imprisoned what would be the harm in this mutually consensual enterprise? And maybe if we lock up more nonviolent liberals they'll temporary run so short of jail and prison space that they'll stop enforcing the anti-marijuana laws for while.
posted by davy at 8:22 PM on September 26, 2005


We will not take back our country from the corporatist state by such tactics.

exactly ... and corporations (and the government) run on money ... and the media run on viewership

take away ... or interfere with the money or viewership and something might happen

sitting on a sidewalk won't cut it these days ...
posted by pyramid termite at 8:51 PM on September 26, 2005


but sitting on the sidewalk when you're the current public face of the anti-war movement DOES cut it. Rosa Parks wasn't a random person--neither is Cindy Sheehan. Both of them chose to perform actions that could lead to arrest. When you or i do the same, people don't talk about it. We're talking about it.
posted by amberglow at 9:16 PM on September 26, 2005


or, in other words: PP and justgary and others in 1955: how dare that woman act in ways unbecoming to her station!!!

Taking back the Senate or the House is more effective, but will not change the administration's actions--the majority of Americans want us out of Iraq and do not trust Bush on either domestic or foreign issues. Who is speaking for the majority of us?
Sheehan is--much more than those in power.
posted by amberglow at 9:20 PM on September 26, 2005


amberglow ... all i know is we're still in iraq ... when we're out of iraq, then i'll concede you may have a point ... but be aware that the bastards on the other side will have some kind of spin to put on it so their followers can continue with their amazing obliviousness ...

the rot in our country goes much farther than who's in office or what the government does ... i really don't know what it's going to take to change it

in other words, "we the people" are the real problem ... and sitting on a sidewalk isn't going to solve that ... in fact, the idea that it would solve that may be part of the problem

it's another spectacle in a country that's addicted to spectacle ... it's another symbol in a nation that already has too many symbols to discern reality ... and it's something else to talk about on a net that already has reams of talking

somehow, in 1955 ... or even 1968 ... it was different ... now, it almost seems like a ritual ...

there has to be another way ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:40 PM on September 26, 2005


So, Osama's still running free, but that darn Cindy Sheehan is behind bars.

As Yakov Smirnoff would say, "what a country!"
posted by clevershark at 9:41 PM on September 26, 2005


too bad none of the cops just did what needs to be done - put a bullet in the back of her skull. She's such a POS......
posted by zagszman at 11:13 PM on September 26, 2005


That word "used" is so phoney and loaded here. Sheehan responded to her son's death by joining the anti-war movement, she didn't "use" it. The word "use" implies that her anti-war efforts are more important to her than her son, which somehow, I doubt.
I'm not sure if 'used' is the right word. But Sheehan was definitely involved in the anti-war movement before her son's death and since her son is dead I'd say her efforts have no importance to her son. Additionally, I don't think anyone can claim with any confidence whether or not her son would want her to be campaigning using his death.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 12:15 AM on September 27, 2005


Additionally, I don't think anyone can claim with any confidence whether or not her son would want her to be campaigning using his death.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 3:15 AM EST on September 27 [!]


Again with the "using" rhetoric...
posted by Rothko at 12:31 AM on September 27, 2005


too bad none of the cops just did what needs to be done - put a bullet in the back of her skull. She's such a POS......

My favorite part of this one is the care with which he uses family-safe language.
posted by furiousthought at 2:06 AM on September 27, 2005


Oh dear. Cindy is SO ineffective! As proof, look! She's in jail, our troops still in Iraq!

Americans are addicted to instant gratification. If the problem can't be solved instantly, they don't wanna know about it.

What would happen if every lefty in America decided to skip work for a day or so?
posted by Goofyy at 2:26 AM on September 27, 2005


Zagsman proves that you don't have to be smart to have $5.
posted by klangklangston at 2:26 AM on September 27, 2005


Cindy Sheehan, My First Time
(emphasis mine)
After we were refused a meeting with the Disconnected One, we went over to right in front of our house...the White House (behind the gate of course) and we sat down and refused to move until George came out and talked to us. We actually had a good time singing old church songs and old protest songs while we waited. I tied a picture of Casey on the White House fence and apparently, that is against the law, too.

After three warnings to get up and move off of the sidewalk in front of our house, we were arrested. It is so ironic to me that the person who resides in our White House swears to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. The person who is the (p)resident of the White House now has no concept of the Constitution. He was appointed by the Supreme Court for his first term, invaded and continues to occupy a sovereign country without a declaration of war from the Congress, and violated several treaties to actually invade, Iraq too. Not to mention the condoned torture that pervades the military prisons these days. These are all violations of the Constitution. The Patriot Act and denying us our rights to peaceably assemble are serious breaches of the Bill of Rights. George is so concerned about Iraq developing a Constitution and he ignores and shreds our own Constitution.

Being arrested is not a big deal. We were arrested for "demonstrating without a permit." We were protesting something that is much more serious than sitting on a sidewalk: the tragic and needless deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Americans (both in Iraq and here in America) who would be alive if it weren't for the criminals who reside in and work in the White House.

Karl Rove (besides just being a very creepy man) outted a CIA agent and was responsible for endangering many of our covert agents worldwide. Dick Cheney's old company is reaping profits beyond anyone's wildest imaginations in their no-bid contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and New Orleans. John Negroponte's activities in South America are very shady and murderous. Rumsfeld and Gonzales are responsible for illegal and immoral authorization, encouragement and approval of torture. Not to mention, violating Geneva Conventions, torture endangers the lives of our service men and women in Iraq. Along with the above mentioned traitors, Condi lied through her teeth in the insane run-up to the invasion. The list of crimes is extensive, abhorrent, and unbelievable. What is so unbelievable is that we were arrested for exercising our first amendment rights and these people are running free to enjoy their lives and wreak havoc on the world.
posted by edverb at 5:48 AM on September 27, 2005


Americans are addicted to instant gratification. If the problem can't be solved instantly, they don't wanna know about it.

the war's been going on for 2 years ... our policy of undeclared wars and foreign intervention has been going on for decades
posted by pyramid termite at 6:01 AM on September 27, 2005


it's another spectacle in a country that's addicted to spectacle ... it's another symbol in a nation that already has too many symbols to discern reality ... and it's something else to talk about on a net that already has reams of talking

somehow, in 1955 ... or even 1968 ... it was different ... now, it almost seems like a ritual ...
...

It is a ritual, but you have to look at what's not shown to us now compared to then. Vietnam was on the news every single night--Iraq is not. Those trading death pics for porn should be on the news--it's not. We're seeing nothing of Iraq--we get a single sentence of how many died each day and that's it. We need something visible and if it's only this mother who lost her kid, that'll have to do until the media starts doing its job again (something i have no faith in anymore). Protests were news back then in ways they're not now. Now we need faces and individuals to represent, otherwise there'd be absolutely no coverage at all. When was the last time you saw a report from the street in Iraq on TV? Or even a picture of grieving Iraqis? All that has stopped being shown, but it hasn't stopped happening.
posted by amberglow at 6:05 AM on September 27, 2005


But I kept thinking that I was not having an impact,

fron www.technocracy.ca

"Vote With Meaning

The only real vote is purchasing power. What we buy we vote for. With an abundance of purchasing power we can vote as often as we like, every day of the year, and always win our vote. "

Now...just figure out how to vote with your money, and how to get others to vote with their money
posted by rough ashlar at 6:21 AM on September 27, 2005


Too bad his blood is providing her with a very comfortable living.
posted by shockingbluamp at 12:11 PM PST on September 26 [!]


How is sitting in a ditch, flying about the country and getting arrested in various locations "a very comfortable living"?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:28 AM on September 27, 2005


It is a ritual, but you have to look at what's not shown to us now compared to then.

i agree ... which is why i think that although the government's the obvious target of protest ... it may not be the right one

i wonder what would happen if a few hundred people occupied a network headquarters to protest what isn't being reported?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:28 AM on September 27, 2005


too bad none of the cops just did what needs to be done - put a bullet in the back of her skull. She's such a POS......
posted by zagszman at 11:13 PM PST on September 26 [!]


Death threats? How charming. Perhaps less fish in your diet would help.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:38 AM on September 27, 2005



What would happen if every lefty in America decided to skip work for a day or so?


everyone else would have to bus their own tables?
posted by poweredbybeard at 8:42 AM on September 27, 2005


Perhaps less fish in your diet would help.
large Mouth bass are sport fish, catch & release; not eating - small Mouth bass are though.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:51 AM on September 27, 2005


Unlike all the "this post sucks" chuckleheads, I liked it, and I liked it because it would lead to good discussion.

Boy the discussion at my house raged on all afternoon. What, if any, restrictions should be placed on protesters (bearing in mind that protesters also prostest against women entering family planning clinics)? And if we restrict unlimited protesting to elected officials, what about elected judges or sheriffs? Clearly there needs to be some restictions, but when does protesting turn into stalking? What about violence? Should spitting/mud-slinging be allowed? Is fire ever appropriate? What about restricting normal traffic?

We started with the premise that the founders never envisioned the vast population and the numerous cultures that would eventually reside in their country. I'm left with the vision of Thomas Jefferson being comfortable with the idea of a man walking up to him on the street and yelling, "Mr. President, I want a word with you about these taxes!" and never imagining tens of thousands frustrated tax payers storming the streets of the Capitol.

Yet in the end we do have a representational government and that should mean something. Our representatives should be made aware of how passionately we feel about some of their actions and sometimes a letter just isn't enough.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:06 AM on September 27, 2005


Cindy Sheehan is a sympton of, not a cure for, the reign of idiocy in the major media: a walking talking embodiment of the anecdote and sentiment which regularly trump hard-headed discourse. She is nothing more (and, unfortunately, nothing less) than the Natalee Hollaway of the anti-war movement.

I doubt very much whether the anti-war movement actually recognized this and put Sheehan forward strategically. More likely, it was dumb luck. The question is whether the movement can convert. With last weekend's protests under the fold -- or on the inside pages -- and major Democrats putting as many miles between themselves and DC as they possibly could, the evidence for a successful conversion isn't favorable.
posted by MattD at 11:06 AM on September 27, 2005


I am not sure things are dire enough to support an anti-war movement like we had during the Vietnam "conflict." Then, just about everybody knew one or several boys who had come home in boxes. The war had hit home. This war is still remote. People are starting to get uncomfortable with the body count and expense of the war but for most it is not really personal. Perhaps more mothers speaking out can help make the cost of this war seem more personal, more real, and less theoretical.
posted by caddis at 11:40 AM on September 27, 2005


everyone else would have to bus their own tables?

Or maybe your grandpa wouldn't get his cancer drug, ass.
posted by iamck at 12:31 PM on September 27, 2005


Odd. I find myself agreeing with MattD and caddis' statements.
There is less hard discourse, but hopefully she can bring the point home. Hmmm.

"our policy of undeclared wars and foreign intervention has been going on for decades"

Indeed. But some of that foreign intervention was... I find myself lacking the adjectives.... necessary. Some. And I concede it’s debatable depending on one’s POV, strategies, etc. (The Big Pines ops and Solid Shield, etc. in Honduras fr’instance - train the Contras, show of force to the Soviets)

Which I think is the crux of the matter here. Was it necessary for her son to give his life for this engagement?
All she got from Bush was “it was a good cause.” That’s really not an explaination and it’s more or less what the country got after it being an ‘immanent threat’ and so forth.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:35 PM on September 27, 2005


to clarify: I find myself agreeing with a synthesis of MattD and caddis' apparently opposed statements.

"everyone else would have to bus their own tables?
Or maybe your grandpa wouldn't get his cancer drug, ass."

Ah yes, raising the level of discourse.

So...it's ok if her kid is dead over what is apparently the use of our military to line the pockets of corporate cronies because...lefties are filthy hippies?

Christ I miss W.F. Buckley. He could peel off an insult with some class.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:40 PM on September 27, 2005


Amen Smedleyman.
posted by humannature at 7:25 PM on September 27, 2005


everyone else would have to bus their own tables?

Or maybe your grandpa wouldn't get his cancer drug, ass.


Dude. Your knee jerked so fast it must have knocked out a couple of teeth. You alright?

I'm as "left" as they come. I just thought some of the less romantic results of this "lefties refuse to work" idea were pretty damn funny. Oh no! The Village Voice won't be doing an issue this week! Whither America?
posted by poweredbybeard at 8:44 PM on September 27, 2005


Yea, long day at work. Sorry... ;)
posted by iamck at 10:20 PM on September 27, 2005


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