I Just got back from the Sarah Palin Rally in West Chester, Ohio (a Cincinnati suburb), and frankly I am still livid. I took a small (8"x11") American flag with me, on a 25" wooden stick 5/16" in diameter. Actually the dimensions did not matter because the Secret Service was confiscating all flags on any stick. I was told my options were to leave the rally, break the flag off the stick, or give them the flag. Let the government confiscate Old Glory!!?!?!?!? Not this lifetime!!
I work within walking distance of the rally so I walked back to the office and left the flag there. Actually I didn't give up without a fight, going through about 4 levels of security until I finally got to a goon who refused to tell me who he worked for or who I could call to complain (actually he was Secret Service but he just kept saying he did not work for this district). I did remind him that he ultimately worked for me, because, as Ronald Reagan said, in America power flows from the people upward!!!!
The irony is that this is the exact same flag I was given by the campaign at the McCain rally at Wright State when he introduced Sarah Palin as his running mate. And I was in the VIP section standing in front of the podium where the entire McCain clan and Palin family were, waving it proudly. I remember reading the RedState blogs of that rally, and I think several RedStaters commented on the ocean of American flags there.
Needless to say, a good number of patriotic Americans were extremely disappointed ( I talked to one lady whose husband is in Iraq ) and this put a big damper on the rally. Somehow seeing an ocean of McCain signs just doesn't stimulate me like seeing an ocean of American flags!!
So in case anyone watches the video of the rally, please understand that there were a lot of people in the crowd who wanted to put their "Country First", but were instead handed partisan "McCain/Palin" cardboard signs to wave instead of Old Glory.
I have attended a Barry Goldwater rally (off the back of a train!), a Nixon rally, a Reagan rally, and the Dayton McCain rally and this was the first time I've ever been threatened to have my flag confiscated!! I'll be making some phone calls and writing some folks (as soon as I figure out whom!), but this is simply an outrage.
I reminded one of the Secret Service that the pencil in my pocket could be just as lethal as the flag-stick, and he told me to watch what I said or I could get arrested!!!
Again, this totally ruined the rally for me, and I even had my two daughters (18 and 15) out of school to introduce them to the American political system. Some introduction.
Can anybody help get the Secret Service staightened out here and now before this becomes SOP??? Like Barney Fife would say, we need to "Nip it in the Bud".Tom