Last week, Mike was arrested by a Veterans Administration police officer while at the Jesse Brown V.A. Medical Center in Chicago.
The dastardly deed that got him placed in handcuffs, escorted from the premises past a host of shocked onlookers and a date in court?
He refused to surrender the First Amendment rights guaranteed to him by the Constitution of the United States.
(Today's moment of sarcasm brought to you by Uncle Dick Cheney's School of Multiple Deferments - "Where Clueless, Neoconservative Chicken Hawks Rule the Roost!")
For the record, Mike was not protesting, ranting, raving, threatening, handing out literature, or causing any kind of disturbance whatsoever. He was not even talking to anyone.
Mike explained that he was not protesting and politely refused to leave, at which point he was politely arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, which brings a fine of $275. Had he not been processed by a friendly cop who also happened to be a veteran, he apparently could have also been charged with criminal trespass and weapons possession, for the Swiss Army pocket knife he happened to be carrying with him.
As you might imagine, Mike is refusing to pay the fine and will fight the charge in court. Unless, as he says, "somebody at the VA comes to their senses and decides to drop the charges."
Read Mike's firsthand account of the incident here.
And here is his interview with Democracy Now
(transcript and video).
Mike was not "looking for trouble", as I am quite sure many knee-jerk Bushies will claim, because of the shirt he chose to wear that day. He was making a quiet, non-disruptive, non-political statement, as is his unquestionable right under the First Amendment. It was the VA cop's response that was politically motivated.
In his blatant disrespect for the Constitution he swore to uphold, the VA officer was either wearing his personal politics on his sleeve, blindly following some officially ignorant administration edict designed to minimize publicly displayed disapproval of Bush's illegal war of choice, or both.
This is not a simple story of one overzealous cop, or a call to defend the rights of one American. It is but one example of the malicious shredding of the United States Constitution being perpetrated by the Bush administration, and should serve as a reminder that we must not tolerate even the smallest example of the suppression of our constitutional rights.
Why? Because the more we give, the more they'll try to take. And when we wake up to the realization that there's nothing left, it will be too late.