I received the following e-mail tonight, and find it to be a sad state of affairs that's very revealing about how the Bush team really feels about diversity of viewpoints and their contention that they listen to all of the American people's voices.Okay, I lied. I do have a comment after thinking about it. My follow-up re-action was that I wouldn't have gone so quitely. And then, I knew that any protest he would have made, would have been absolutely futile, and probably only resulted in his being in jail for wearing an opponent's T-shirt to a rally.I just wanted to tell you all about my experiences last Saturday. I found out last week that John Kerry was going to speak on July 31 in Wheeling, and so I went to get tickets. In addition, I made a general offer to pick up tickets for anyone at my work that wanted them. In response, some people noted that George Bush was also speaking in Cambridge, OH (which is not too far away) earlier the same day. Since it is not often that one gets to see both candidates for President on the same day, I went and got a ticket for the Bush rally as well.
On Saturday morning, I went to Cambridge with a friend. Wanting to see the President, but not wanting to be seen as supporting his policies, I wore a Kerry/Edwards T-shirt. I want to emphasize, however, that I was not there to protest, only to listen to my President. We stood in line in the rain for an hour an a half in the rain just like the other 10,000 or so people. And while I did get a few curious or dirty looks, very few people said anything to me, and I said nothing to the other people at the event outside of occasional small talk.
As I approached the security area, one low-level security person asked me to turn my shirt inside out. As I said, I was only there to hear the President, and so I complied. When I got to the main security area, however, the same man came up to me again, told me he had checked with his superiors, and that I would not be allowed into the event with the Kerry/Edwards T-shirt. I had been a little afraid of this eventuality and had brought another non-political T-shirt just in case. So I agreed to change shirts. The man took my other T-shirt and put it where I could find it after the speech.
Thinking that was the end of that, we went inside and tried to find a place in the crowd where I could see the President. I had no intention of heckling the President or causing trouble of any sort. I just stood with the rest of the crowd waiting for the speech. After a few minutes (maybe 10-15), the first security person came up to me again, this time with a second burlier gentleman. I was asked to stand with the second man in an area somewhat away from the main crowd, and again I complied. A couple of minutes later a third man who told me he was with the President's advance team (or something like that) came up and escorted me out of the event. Still not wanting to cause trouble, I went out as I was asked, and waited for my friend who was allowed to stay. Incidentally, while outside, I did get to do what I came for. I got to see the President briefly waving from his motorcade on the way into the event.
Now being the curious sort, I obtained a Bush shirt to see what would happen at the Kerry rally in Wheeling. Still not wanting to be perceived as a Bush supporter, I waited and put the Bush shirt on about 10-15 minutes before we reached the security checkpoint. This time no one said anything to me, and I was allowed to enter with no questions asked. After entering, I put on my Kerry T-shirt, and listened to the speakers as I had planned.
Now I don't know what others will make of this experience, but you should feel free to forward this email to anyone that you would like. I would ask that you include my name, however. Too many people spread lies and rumors on the internet anonymously. What I have said is true, and I am not afraid to sign my name to it.
Sincerely, John Prather
P.S. If you would like to see a newspaper article written about this, you can access it by going to http://zanesvilletimesrecorder.com. Then click on local news. At the bottom of that page is a calendar for previous stories. Click on August 1. The story is titled "Rally draws only few with opposing views."
Resistence is futile. You will be assimulated.BUSH/BORG 2004