Pelosi censors poster of troops
Friday, August 22, 2008
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-S.F., has done something worse than commit a crime against the First Amendment. The speaker's censorship of nonobtrusive posters featuring men and women who gave that last full measure of devotion in service to their country is a blunder that could alienate 23 million veterans and their families from the Democratic Party. If she is endowed with a crumb of constitutional or political sense, she will reverse course. The tale of Pelosi's folly begins with Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C. He wished to pay tribute to the service members of Camp Lejeune who had been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Accordingly, Walter placed a poster flat against the wall in the corridor outside his office showing their names and pictures. It was altogether fitting that Jones saluted the fallen soldiers on congressional premises. Congress authorized the wars that occasioned their tragic deaths. Congress appropriated the money that dispatched them to mortal danger. The posters communicated to congressional visitors that war is a combination of heroism and hell. Voters would leave with more informed judgments about the costs of the twin wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There was no tension between Jones' wall poster and the ordinary use of the House Rayburn Office Building to host direct communications between Members of the House and the public. On one occasion, for instance, a mother from Minnesota entered Jones' office with tears in her eyes to thank him for displaying the picture of her son who had been killed while serving the nation.