Magazine article The New American

Criminal T-Shirts?

Magazine article The New American

Criminal T-Shirts?

Article excerpt

Jayson Nelson, a construction worker who also serves as a supervisor in Wisconsin's Outagamie County, "was forced to leave President Bush's campaign rally [in Green Bay] because he was wearing a T-shirt endorsing Democrat John Kerry for president," reported the July 18 Appleton Post-Crescent.

Earlier that day, Nelson had attended a Kerry for President rally in Fond du Lac. After throwing a button-down shirt over his t-shirt, Nelson--holding a VIP pass he had received as a local government official--quietly and patiently waited outside Green Bay's Resch Center auditorium. Responding to a complaint from a woman standing next to Nelson, security guards forced him to remove his dress shirt. Once the Kerry t-shirt was revealed, Nelson was plucked out of line and delivered into Secret Service custody. After a brief background check, Nelson was released--but he wasn't permitted to attend the event.

"I was told that no law was broken, but I was nearly treated like a criminal for the terrible crime of wearing a t-shirt," Nelson commented afterward. According to Merrill Smith, Midwestern regional spokeswoman for the Bush-Cheney re-election effort, Nelson had no right to attend the event: "These events are for people who are going to get out and support the president and who are going to work on his behalf between now and Nov. 2."

Nelson should consider himself fortunate: He could have been arrested and charged with "trespassing," as were Nicole and Jeff Rank of Charleston, West Virginia. …

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