Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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You're absolutely correct that this shouldn't be tolerated. Of course, it's not just Bush, I'm sure the Clinton campaign worked hard to keep protesters out of Clinton's events as well, though I have no idea if they stooped to tactics this aggressive. Regardless of which party is in power, we need to stop it and not tolerate peaceful citizen protests from leading to the arrest of those who simply wish to voice anti-establishment viewpoints.

At the same time, I have some sympathy for why security at such events has increased so greatly over the past few years. Since, probably, the Chicago convention, too many protesters think they have a greater right to be heard than the speaker. The person wearing the anti-Bush t-shirt may just want to stand their quietly, but experience has shown that many such folks actually plan to create an active disruption of the event.

Look at what happens at most global trade meetings, where the real disruptive people use the bulk of the peaceful protesters to foment violence, even riots.

The government, being the government, must take the first step, and stop this infringement on the right to peacefully protest. But after that, we also need to demand that anybody who wants to protest needs to do so without actually disrupting the event they are protesting, so that the ones who DO want to hear and support the speaker can do so.


Just to be clear, I thoroughly condemn arresting peaceful protesters for wearing a t-shirt. They shouldn't be detained or arrested at all, even if no charges are filed. I'm glad that the protester you mention prevailed in his suit, and the little politico-thugs were disciplined for their actions.

My point is simply that these extreme "security" measures weren't created in a vacuum. Both the Democratic and the Republican conventions 3 years ago excluded protesters outside of tiny slivers of "designated free speech zones." The rise in the need for legitimate increased security measures (because of disruptive or violent protests by animal rights activists, radical environmentalists, Operation Rescue operatives, etc., etc.) created a mechanism which could then be taken over and abused by the young political operatives who handle the nitty-gritty organizing of such events.

Charlie (Colorado)

Boy, am I ambivalent about this. One the one hand, pretty near a free speech absolutise. On the other hand, I've got plenty of history of my own, of being threatened, villified, and beaten by people on the other side, and a promise to turn my town in 1968 Chicago.

Hard not to sympathize with both sides.


Can you predict people's conduct from their attire? Do most people who wear anti-Bush T-shirts to speeches heckle, disrupt, or worse? (I don't know the answer.) Maybe the obverse is true -- people who are planning to heckle and disrupt are likely also to be wearing anti-Bush T-shirts. That would be confusing; even so, security people have to be trained to make the distinction.


And, my point really is -- if a president has to stage-manage events to create the appearance of uniform approval, he's already failed. Democracy is rowdy and raucous. The unpopularity of a chosen course is not necessarily a sign of failure (history may judge differently, and often has). The cowering from that unpopularity is.


I've seen the reports from all over the country . . . and I've been outraged each time. But this really pushes me over the limit, to know somewhere there exists a written manual that clearly directs personnel to violate the law and our most sacred writ, the Constitution, all in favor of perpetrating an ongoing deceit on the American public and the world at large. And to intentionally shield the president from dissent? Preposterous! I bet that was his idea only because he has no interest in other opinions, therefore they can and should be subjugated into silence and hidden in the shadows.

Where did the real America go?

Peter Hoh

Why do you hate America?

Peter Hoh

Seriously, I wonder how ridiculous this could get. Someone should spread the idea that wearing or displaying the color yellow is anti-Bush, just to see if you can get tossed from a Bush event for wearing a yellow shirt.


Better yet, Peter, make blue clothes the anti-Bush color (since more people are likely to have them). Plays on the whole Blue State/Red State thing, too. And it would be so amusing to have people in blue jeans being tossed out.

I do wonder if some clever candidate will arrange to demonstrate how different he/she is by arranging a visible protest at one of their events. Then get some foolish newsperson to ask how they feel about the protest disrupting their campaign event. And take the opportunity to wax lyrical about free speech, and not fearing opposing points of view. Could be a real opportunity here.


Amba makes a good point about what it might mean if events have to be so stage-managed in order to create a certain appearance.

But I'm with Charlie in Ambivalentville, Colorado. I can't help wishing this guy had been detained and questioned based on nothing more than what he was wearing. Or that this guy had telegraphed his intentions on his stinking shirt.


To that, Meade, I have to say, "Oh, come on." A would-be assassin would have to be certifiably insane (not just a scheming, well-camouflaged sociopath) to telegraph his intentions in any way.


We agree.


Note the line: "This letter is being written only an hour before I leave for the Hilton Hotel." If he'd sent it by Western Union, now, you could call that telegraphing his intentions.



But you get my point: We are at war. "Regime change" for Iraq meant eliminating Iraq's president. We all knew, and more importantly, know, that it meant killing him and his evil sons.

Given the historical context, one really does have to be a bit mentally off, today, to express, at an event featuring the President of the United States - hapless, feckless, and inept though that president may be - one's desire to see the same sort of regime change occur "at home."

The theatre is crowded. One is free to shout "fire" after the lights come up and the crowd thins out.


wj... no, the clever candidate will not do what you suggest. It will get almost no notice. The public and the media just don't care that much about it. They are cynical enough already about politicians that they expect such things, so the practice doesn't influence how they vote.

The candidate who does as you suggest simply winds up with more protesters at their events who detract the media attention from the candidate's speech. When we're facing a war, health care problems, a real need to address social security, taxes, etc., etc., "I'm going to let protesters into my events more easily" is not a big rallying-cry, and the 10 minutes spent talking about that issue is 10 minutes not spent talking about other issues which are more pressing in the public consciousness.


Meade: are you sure that the people wearing the T-shirt literally equate "violent regime change -- Baghdad" with "regime change -- Washington"? With their lack of experience of actual political violence, do you think they might just mean impeachment or some other variant of "throw the bums out"? And even if they do have an assassination fantasy, for that vast majority it's a puerile fantasy; they literally don't really mean it. And, again, the one who does mean it isn't going to be wearing a T-shirt.

I agree with you about the importance of security. I would have no qualms about metal detectors and plastique sniffers at the entrance to such an event. But the people wearing the T-shirt are at worst going to cause a stupid disruption. If they do, it's OK to remove them. If they violently resist removal, it's OK to arrest them. But, you know, this really does not appear to be a security issue.

Randy (Internet Ronin)

Someone wearing a t-shirt is not a threat to the President of the United States of America. For 7+ years, this President has consistently walled himself off from the general public 24-7, usually only making appearances before crowds of unarmed military personnel. Rarely does he even deign to mix with a group of the masses, pre-selected for idolotry, partisan fervor, and sycopancy. It would do him, and the nation, well if he would step out of his cocoon on occasion and find out what the real world is like.

Randy (Internet Ronin)

Amba - this subject reminds me of Peter Jennings asking on 9/11: "Where is the President?" It was a good question. Our President was still hop-scotching around the country long after all the other planes in the air were down. The Vice President had relocated to a safe bunker hours ago, but the President yielded to the Secret Service and let them tell him what to do. No question in my mind that both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton would have been at Andrews Air Force Base a Hell of a lot sooner than George W. Bush managed to get there.


He's never been big enough for the job, and I do NOT mean physically. And he hasn't grown into it, either.

Randy (Internet Ronin)

That's what my brother said in 2000 and still says, too, and he's been a GOP operative for 40+ years.

BTW, thanks for not donning your editor's hat an noting the egregious errors in my previous comment (sycopancy=sycophancy, "It would do him ... good" or "serve him... well." It might serve him right as well ;-)


And I'm beginning to hear the real anti-America voice: security is more important than our liberty, and the Constitution is really a document of suggestions that can be disregarded in the face of a perceived threat.

Never is security so important as to warrant limiting or doing away with our rights. Never. We proclaim to the world that freedom and democracy are far more important than any other social consideration. How 'bout we practice what we preach and show some respect for the very foundations of our own country?

You're absolutely right, Pat! I think any candidate who played that card would find it part of a losing hand. It might be like any other shiny object--interesting for a minute or two--but the media and the public would forget about it almost as quickly as they noticed it.


I keep emphasizing that this is not purely a GW Bush problem not to defend him (he's let far too many young political operatives have far too much power in such matters), but because if we misidentify the cause of the problem, we won't get it fixed.

I think if you look, you'll find that the Democrats, at their recent national conventions, use very similar techniques to keep out protesters and voices of dissent. Of course, political conventions are different things entirely from public appearances by the President, but they're not all that different. As I said before, the legitimate security needs of the president (there really are nut cases out there trying to kill them) provide the tools and mechanisms which can then be abused by the politicos to keep out dissenters, not just dangerous people.

But we need to not see thas as purely a George W. Bush problem. It's not Bush, it's not any of the other politicians, it's the growing role of professional political operatives in campaigns and politics in general. Bush himself certainly never gave an order to toss out people with anti-Bush t-shirts. Frankly, I doubt that even Karl Rove gives such instructions. But the ranks of operatives below that, graduates of the College Republicans or College Democrats, are often too young to think straight, and get carried away with the little bit of power they've been given.


Pat's right about this being a bipartisan problem. Doesn't excuse the Bush people, but a little perspective here could be helpful.

I remember when some nut tried to fly his Cessna airplane into the White House when Clinton was president. I remember being shocked to hear a Clinton-hater, a member of my own family, a full-grown senior adult, say to me, "You know, I didn't vote for JFK but I was sorry when he was assassinated...

But if this president were killed, I wouldn't be sorry at all."

And he meant it.

THAT is crazy.

Those "protesters" settled with the government for $80,000. (Who says you can't successfully sue the government?) Settling for $80,000 means they agreed that those were their damages. A genuine anti-war protester would not settle for any amount of money short of enough to shut down the government.

Yes, I think people with the "regime change" t-shirts literally mean to express a dual meaning. It's naive to think they don't. Don't stand in line at the airport joking about bombs and hijacking and don't go to rallies during times of war wearing symbols which suggest you want to see the live in-person featured speaker -- the commander-in-chief -- prohibited, disallowed, violently overthrown, or otherwise eliminated.

A reasonable person does not behave that way.

And don't go flying your airplane into people's homes either, no matter how bad a leader they may be.

Beside just being poor manners, you will wind up fitting the profile of a nut.

Charlie (Colorado)

Again, don't confuse me with someone who thinks he knows the right answer --- but there really are a couple points here to watch out for.

First is "George W Bush exceptionalism". He's not doing anything much different from other presidents, and I don't mean merely as far back as Clinton, although I recall some people having a little difficulty about Juanita Broderick tee shirts, back in the day. Look up FDR's private railroad station, or Lincoln sneaking into DC for his first inauguration.

Second, as far as Bush being in the air on 9/11 --- that plan has been in place since at least the 60's. Air Force One (really, the whole fleet of Presidential planes, there's more than one) were built with that in mind. If the US came under attack, the O-plan has always been "get him in the air, get him far away, keep him there until we know it's safe." The planes, the command bunkers in Omaha and elsewhere (I've been in one of them that I've never heard spoken of, although God knows it wasn't all that *secret*) have communications and operational support so that he doesn't need to be in DC. DC is the biggest target in the US, and the White House, Pentagon, and Capitol big bright shining symbols at the center or the target. Continuity of the command structure is the main goal, not loss of political capital.

Maybe it's not a great idea, but don't blame Bush. Blame Jack Kennedy --- the basic O-plan goes back to the Cuban Missle Crisis. And when you get hold of Jack, ask him if he still thinks the convertible was that great an idea?

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