It's hard to get a bead on this story. Every report seems to be different. I'll give you the gist of what I derived with a caveat as to its complete accuracy.
Cindy Sheehan was arrested just before the State of the Union speech last night. Sitting in the gallery at the invitation of California Representative Lynn Woolsey, Sheehan revealed she was wearing a sloganeering t-shirt that had the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq listed on it (I guess she doesn't worry about Afghan troops) and apparently text that read something like "How many more?"
In other words, business as usual for Sideshow Cindy.
Prior to the big reveal, Sheehan had concealed the shirt, covering it in some way not clear in any of the reports I read. Right there, if that part of the story is accurate and I believe it is or I doubt she could have gotten as far as she did, you know she knows she was doing wrong, because she concealed the shirt. If she thought it was perfectly okay, why not be flagrant?
When Capitol Police told her it was unlawful to politic from the gallery and she'd have to remove the shirt, she either ignored them or refused. Either way, she was arrested and led from the chamber. I suppose it's not surprising she wasn't smart enough to wait till the speech was going on to reveal the shirt, or even to cover it up and then reveal it again at a more opportune moment.
Now, I'm in disagreement with some people I know over Ms. Sheehan. They side with David Letterman in his opinion of, "(How can you) have nothing but endless sympathy for a woman like Cindy Sheehan?" And when it comes to her loss -- the death of her son Casey as a soldier in Iraq -- I do. It is a horrible and tragic burden to bear -- one that's shared by a husband and family that disagree with her and who have asked her to stop. But that burden and loss do not give her a free pass for anything she subsequently feels like doing. She has chosen to go after a sitting President, she has chosen to make herself an outspoken activist, and by entering the marketplace of free ideas, she has opened herself and her ideas up for evaluation and vetting. In that regard, I find her seriously wanting.
What we got last night was Sheehan as usual, thinking the way to get attention is to defiantly do things she's not permitted to and create controversy. Sideshow Cindy at her best. What she could not possibly grasp is how powerful her mere presence could have been. The television cameras -- alerted in advance to her presence -- would have shown her repeatedly, especially during anything the President said on Iraq, and especially when the President introduced the family of a fallen soldier that supports the war effort despite the loss of a son. She could have gone outside and had the press hanging on her every word as she denounced the speech. She could have been seen on newscasts across the country, blasting the President, and reiterating her message.
Instead she threw it all away for another cheap trick. What a pity. Some people look to Cindy Sheehan for leadership. All they'll ever find is publicity stunts.
According to The Associated Press, prior to heading toward the Capitol, Sheehan and a "handful" of others had stood outside the White House yelling, "You're evicted! Get out of our house!" There were no cameras around to capture the moment, which begs the question: If a protestor protests and no-one hears it, is she really protesting? Cindy Sheehan is going to find out. I feel as sorry for her then as I do for her now over the loss of her son.