9.07.2005

"Free thought and free expression, that's what we believe."-George Bush

On July 4, Jeff and Nicole Rank went to hear George W. Bush speak in Charleston, West Virginia. Tickets in hand, they found seats ten or 15 rows from the stage. There they sat, quietly, wearing t-shirts that read love america, hate bush and regime change starts at home. Forty-five minutes before the president took the podium, event staffers approached the couple and said, "You need to either take those shirts off or leave." According to The San Antonio Express-News, Jeff Rank replied, "People around us have Bush-Cheney t-shirts, pro-Bush t-shirts. Why can't we express our views?" The staffers left, but a few minutes later, two police officers arrived and told the couple to "cover up, take them [the t-shirts] off or leave completely." The Ranks refused, at which point they were handcuffed, expelled from the event, and briefly thrown in prison. With the Ranks safely off the premises, Bush addressed the crowd, declaring that "on the Fourth of July, we confirm our love of freedom, the freedom for people to speak their minds, the freedom for people to worship as they so choose. Free thought and free expression, that's what we believe." Two days later, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Nicole Rank's employer, told her that, as a result of the incident, she was being dismissed from her assignment in West Virginia.

4 comments:

Big Sister said...

I plan to be in Charleston in 2007. I'd like to meet this couple, shake their hands and take them to dinner.

John in Atlanta said...

What a coincidence! Me too!

Big Sister said...

Wow! Small world!

jomama said...

Why would anyone go hear a pol speak?

I'd rather have a root canal.