Let’s hear it for Steven Howards – who is refusing to be bullied by the imperious Bush-Cheney regime.
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Howards, 54, lives in Golden, Colorado. Last July, he serendipitously came upon none other than Dick Cheney walking across a public mall. His Vice Highness was walking to an event and had not yet been cordoned off from mere citizens. So Howards simply stepped forward, greeted the Veep, and calmly said: “I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible.” He then turned and went on his way, and that was that.
Only, it wasn’t. About 10 minutes later, as Howards was walking back through the area, a secret service agent accosted him, slapped handcuffs on him, and charged him with “assaulting” Lord Cheney.
A secret service spokesman told the local media that Howards “wasn’t acting like other folks in the area.” Well, no – he wasn’t fawning or bowing as His Eminence passed by. Instead, having something honest to say to a public official, he said it. Cheney’s secret agents then tried to claim that Howards had become “argumentative and combative.” Only, he hadn’t. “This is not about anything I did,” he says,”this is about what I said.”
Indeed, three weeks after Howards had been jailed and booked, the local DA dropped the charges, saying that instead of threatening His Royal Cheneyness, “it looked to be that [Howards] had just spoken to him.” But under King George the W, such impetuous use of one’s free speech rights gets you hauled to jail.
This is Jim Hightower saying… Howards says that he had no intention of raising the flag of free speech when he approached Cheney that day in June – he was simply one American daring to speak his mind to authority – an admirable American trait. But neither is he one to back off meekly in the face of official intimidation. Howards has now filed suit against the secret service for violating his Constitutional rights – and he plans to call Dick Cheney as a witness.
“Man Sues Secret Service Agent Over Arrest After Approaching Cheney and Denouncing War,” The New York Times, October 4, 2006.