When I first hear the term "fashion police" I usually associate it to things like "you're not supposed to wear white after Labor Day", "make sure the color of your belt matches the color of your shoes" and "don't mix stripes and polka dots." These days, it looks like I'm gonna have to expand that definition.

Just the other day during President George W. Bush’s State of the Union speech, a certain Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a Marine who was killed in the fighting in Iraq and who has tried to confront Mr. Bush to bring about a speedy end to the war, was evicted and subsequently arrested and led away in handcuffs she entered the Capitol building. She had been given a ticket to attend the speech by Representative Lynn Woolsley, a Democrat from California and from most of the accounts that I read, when confronted, she went quietly.

Her crime?

Wearing a t-shirt that read “2,245 Dead. How many more?" At first the authorities charged her with “demonstrating inside the Capitol”. That charge was later reduced to a broader term called “unlawful activity” which is a misdemeanor but carries a sentence of up to one year in jail if convicted. Now, I don’t know about you but the words “unlawful activity” seem to be pretty vague at best and the charges were soon dropped and Ms. Sheehan was issued an apology by those who had arrested her.

On the other side of the coin, one Beverly Young, the wife of Congressman C. W. Young, a Republican from Florida was also escorted off the grounds. She had the audacity to wear a t-shirt that read “Support the Troops--Defending Our Freedom." Her husband used the opportunity to rail against her eviction the next day on the floor of the House, going so far as to bring in the actual t-shirt and display it for all to see. According to the reports that I read, Ms. Young caused quite a scene and was shouting at the police and went so far as to call one of them “an idiot”. She was not charged with a crime.

So, this is what we’ve become. Instead of a free exchange of ideas, both sides are stifled and silenced. One side led away in handcuffs, the other brooding and fuming over the perceived violation of her rights.

No wonder we can’t get anything done.

As a side note, with this being a year in which the mid term elections are to be held, I’m sure Mr. Bush will be out on the stump and coming to a town near you campaigning for various Republicans he’d like to see in office.

A word to the wise, be careful what you wear. The fashion police are just doing their job.

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