BREAKING: Remove Impeach Sticker on Flight, They’re Telling Me
by Ralph Lopez
Upon boarding Delta Flight 1674 from El Paso to Atlanta at approximately 11:40 a.m. today, I was asked by the flight attendant greeting passengers at the plane’s entrance to remove my sticker reading “Impeach Bush and Cheney” from my shirt. I refused, responding “No ma’am, I will not,” and continued into the cabin to my seat. As I moved down the aisle, I heard the attendant apparently answering another member of the crew behind me, saying: “It’s a political sticker on public transport.” The flight attendant was a older woman with short brown hair who wore glasses, who spoke with a southern accent. The only other flight attendants on the plane were an African-American woman, and a younger white woman who wore her hair in a bun.
The flight took off and continued uneventfully. I am now in Atlanta airport attempting to contact AP to report the incident and to ask them to verify that such a request was made by a member of the crew, and to request that AP obtain clarification from Delta as to its official policy on such clearly protected speech.
Ralph Lopez’s diary :: ::
Signs are posted in the screening area of the airport that joking references to violent acts and terrorism are prohibited. These are understandably not protected, as they could conceivably be analogous, legally, to shouting “fire” in a crowded theater, i.e. speech which could cause public panic. A sticker (a rectangle about 2 1/2 inches by 5 inches, plain black-and-white print and available at pdamerica.org) reading “Impeach Bush and Cheney” could in no way be construed as a menace to public safety.
I am a member of the Northeast Impeachment Coalition, and I have been traveling through the Southwestern U.S. for about a week now wearing the sticker in public places at all times. I have received almost overwhelmingly favorable reaction. (see my post Report From Otero County) My reasons for favoring impeachment are that George Bush and Dick Cheney have violated their oaths of office to “uphold, defend, and protect the Constitution” by illegally detaining American citizens indefinitely, without charges and without counsel, thus violating the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy and public trial, and by violating the Fourth Amendment protection against search without a warrant in the NSA surveillance scandal. Not even as staunch a right-wing violator of civil liberties as John Ashcroft could stomach the breadth of the NSA’s actions when asked to sign-off from his hospital bed. Finally, I favor the impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney for lying to Congress in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.
In Houston last week the coffin of a soldier killed in Iraq came off our plane after we had landed. I will not fail such an example of courage, which makes my own paltry attempts to do the right thing as American pale in comparison. Up to and including being refused boarding, I will not remove my sticker, and will assert the rights which I am sure this soldier believed he was fighting for.
I now await the call for boarding my next flight, to Pittsburgh. Although the majority may feel as I do, it takes but the ignorance of a few in positions of power to suppress and control the rest of us. I ask for assistance in contacting AP to further report on this incident, and any which may be in store for me while in transit.
September 6, 2007
ralphlopez2002 at hotmail dot com