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What Would People Think?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On Shoes and Democracy

This is me gesturing toward a shoe 5 years ago. Back then I didn't have my famous beard.

I post this, of course, in memory of the bizarre shoe incident (which would be a great name for a rock band), in which an Iraqi journalist through his shoes at President Bush.

Bush brushed it off as an expression of democracy. I tend to agree with that. Healthy democracy allows for political protest, even of the outrageous kind. And it's kind of funny how shoes have now become a symbol of defiance in Iraq.

But here's the thing. I'd find the whole thing much more credible as a symbol of democracy if the journalist wasn't immediately taken out and beaten. And I'd find Bush claiming it to be a sign of democracy to be much more sincere if the journalist's cries weren't audible from the press room.

Now he's being detained and may be charged with a crime. Should he be? I mean, throwing stuff at people is technically assault. Should it be forgiven here because it was political protest? Even if it's technically assault, it seems pretty harmless. I'd be curious as to your thoughts.