GRANDMA SUNI (Guest Columnist) May 5, 2001 - Well --So Much for 1st Amendment Rights-Family Values or Care of the Elderly. Signs seemed to be the most important thing to King George on Monday, June 4th. So much so that the order went out for no anti-Bush signs to be allowed inside Legends Field. Wish they had told me sooner so I could have saved my energy and ink when making a six foot sign stating, Bush Stole the Election. So this grandma who often seems to lack respect for the emperor with no clothes just packed her eight signs into her pocketbook. After all, who would ever invade a woman's pocketbook? ACTION ALERT: KEPT AT A DISTANCE
Invade it they did - at the checkpoint going in (the airport?). The officers said I could not use the sign that said "Booo!" BUT - when my dear friend Maurice asked, "Can she just take the stick off of it and use it that way?"-Security said OK. So, with eight signs tucked safely in my pocketbook we ventured off onto the baseball field for Oral Majority's 126th protest since November 2000, hoping to make some friends who would also hold my signs.
I tried to get up front where other short people (children) were standing. We gathered behind a rope that penned us in like Roman slaves. Near the rope and behind the children King George's huge security men were dressed in suits and shouting, "all littleliggers up front". I misunderstood his pronunciation of the little leaguers and questioned him about it. THIS WAS A MISTAKE! After I apologized for my misunderstanding of his "littliggers" he started telling me that I could not hold the signs I was holding. I pointed out the large signs over in the stands across from us and he didn't seem to want to hear about it.
Other people around us were saying we were wrong for protesting. One young woman faced me and I asked her if that was how she talked to her grandma.. She said clearly, "my grandmother is not an asshole", to which I answered her "That cannot be true since - she had you". Hmmm, ANOTHER MISTAKE! As I reflect back, we were not making any friends there with my poor attitude, so where did I go wrong?
I recall waking up early that Monday and turning on channel 11 for ABC's Good Morning America: While I checked my email I also listened to the TV as they gave some local news. "George W. Bush will be at Legend's Field today" and people who are attending are already making signs. They immediately showed a man making a very large sign in front of the TV Cameras. So I began to make one that was even larger.
Unfortunately, when Maurice and Dave greeted Jan and I in the parking lot after our caravan ride of Democrats from Pasco County we were told that we couldn't use my big sign. They will not let us in with it, they said. How could that be when it was so plain on ABC TV at 7:30 AM a man was making a sign for this very event? So I listened to my friends and put the huge sign
back in the car and began distributing my small signs that read, "INVESTIGATE FLORIDA VOTERGATE" giving one to Walter the 81-year-old man who rode with Jan down from Pasco County. I kept the other eight, especially the one that said "HEIL TO THE THIEF". Seems that one was the most appropriate for what happened to us there that day on Legend's Field.
Was democracy totally dead this day? Another bigger security officer came over to us as we stood there looking for friends and said we cannot use the signs we were holding. Again I told him that security checked my bag and allowed us to have them. This Security apparently was not in touch with the other security. This must have been the pure-Bushit Security-the ones who wore suits rather than uniforms.
I wish I had told the reporters who gathered around us that these security men were bullies in the first sense of the word. They grabbed my 81/2 by 11 paper signs and started routing in my bag for more. I also had NO MORE BUSHIT bumper stickers in there along with pins. I had to protect them. Next thing you know there were the police officers trying to get Maurice who has a severe health problem similar to Muscular Dystrophy. They tried to make him give up his sign that read, "June is Gay Pride Month". Some of the Repugs said, "No wonder they are protesting. They're Gays. One of the two Bushit Security men told Maurice to give up his sign and take a pro Bush sign instead. He refused. With that all H**L broke loose. A police officer came and told us we had to leave. We said we had a right to be there. We said other people were holding signs much bigger than ours. Large poster signs flashed all around the stadium for Bush. We had a right to be there as well as anyone else. We had tickets. We didn't do anything wrong. Why were they taking us away - in handcuffs? All we did was show our small signs. I just couldn't believe it.
They put handcuffs on Maurice and we were afraid he would pass out. He was shaking in the way I had seen him do once before. His health is so fragile and I was afraid he would be very hurt. Jan and I hung onto his arms as he asked us to do. Then Maurice went limp and fell down dragging me with him. When we were on the ground the same woman I questioned earlier about her grandma kicked dirt on me.
I looked for Jan and she didn't fall with us. Instead a very large policewoman who was much shorter than Jan, but muscular, had her handcuffed and used our Jan as a shield to bludgeon her way through the crowd. She pushed her through with such force that she knocked over our new friend Walter who rode in the car with Jan to this event Walter Olson is 81 years old and carried one of my little orange signs that said "Investigate Florida Votergate". I was so angry at what this officer of the law did to this old man that I told her so. I said-Why did you do that? To which she answered "Assault on a Policeman!" And they handcuffed me.
We were pushed through the crowd to a room under the stadium where 6 or 7 other policemen sat at round tables. I turned around to look at Maurice and he was handcuffed on the floor with sweat dripping from his brow. One kind police officer offered him a drink and Maurice took a sip from his prone position. Then the officer asked if he wanted some water on his brow. I said loud a clearly I want to know your badge number so I can tell others there is a humane police officer in Tampa.
After getting some non-uniformed security person to let go of my shoulder that was recently operated on for a torn rotator cuff we were seated and they changed our cuffs to the front of our bodies where we maintained some comfort. We were questioned regarding our names and addresses and, the officers filled out forms charging us with a misdemeanor. It was my misfortune to have my paperwork done by the bludgeoning bombshell who attacked the old man-Ugh using our dear Jan as her weapon. What can I expect in the future from all of this? Do I live in America? Whatever will I tell my grandchildren???? Grandma Suni was handcuffed in Tampa because she held up the wrong sign? Heil to the thief who stole our democracy!
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