By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Free speech for me …

… but not for thee. (With apologies to Nat Hentoff.)

I’m probably late to the party, but if you haven’t heard about this, you’ve got to check out the unblinking, unapologetic double-standard voiced by U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla.

Young’s wife, Beverly Young, as you may have heard, was removed from the Capitol press gallery the night of President Bush’s State of the Union speech because she was wearing a political T-shirt that read, “Support the Troops.” That same evening, antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan was also removed — and arrested — for wearing a T-shirt that said, “2,245 Dead. How Many More?” Capitol police have apologized, the charge against Sheehan has been dropped, and there are red faces and indignation all around.

Anyway, here are the immortal words of Congressman Young, as reported in today’s Washington Post:

“When your wife is insulted and embarrassed, you do tend to get a little offended,” Young said yesterday, explaining his upbraiding of Gainer that night and his fervent speech on the House floor yesterday morning, when he waved the shirt and bellowed about his wife’s ejection: “Shame! Shame!”

Young said he wouldn’t be so mad if it were just Sheehan. “I totally disagree with everything she stands for,” he said. But by removing his wife, Gainer’s officers clearly “acted precipitously,” Young said.

You can’t even call him a hypocrite — he’s too up-front for that. (Thanks to Media Nation reader Michael Goldman.)

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  1. Steve

    He’s a hypocrite! There, I said it. Just because he revels in his hypocrisy is no reason to pull punches.

  2. Stephen

    Actually C.W. Bill Young is a repeat offender hypocrite.He’s outraged because he feels his wife was mistreated by law enforcement.Yet in April 2004 he was informed of the false arrest of a constituent (a veteran) in his district and couldn’t have cared less. Where was his outrage then?Then we have Young’s comments to the Washington Post in which he makes it clear that he would not be so upset (unlikely he’d be upset at all) if only Cindy Sheehan had been removed, and not his wife…because he disagrees with Sheehan (So do I, but I hold her rights in no more and no less regard than Beverly Young’s)Such lack of action for a wrongly arrested constituent (against whom all charges were promptly dropped, no thanks to Young) and his aggressive, nepotistic actions now on behalf of his wife, along with his statement that he would have been less angry if it had been only Cindy Sheehan who was ejected, demonstrates what he really “represents” – an outrageous hypocrite and menace to the Constitution.It bodes well for the First Amendment to have a “representative” like Bill Young in office, doesn’t it?

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