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May 5, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 18
 
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Ticketed for 'driving while just being' and other strange 'states of the union'
Ticketed for 'driving while just being' and other strange 'states of the union'
by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN Staff Writer

A friend and I were driving from Seattle to Shoreline the other day, planning an evening of 'scene-ing', chatting about how crazy things are becoming (gas prices inching up daily by five cents in some places, what an idiot our president is-the usual talk between two intelligent, 'alternative' people). Suddenly, we were aware that we were being signaled to pull over by a state patrolman, that I didn't even see pull behind us out of nearly gridlock traffic. And talking about what happened later, the two of us decided that there was no real reason we should have been aware of that cop, or pulled over. We weren't speeding, nothing was wrong with the car, and neither of us were intoxicated (we don't partake or imbibe), and nothing was falling from the car to endanger other passengers. So, why were we pulled over?

The patrolman told my friend, the driver that it was for not wearing a seatbelt (which is not true, because I saw him put on his seatbelt, and being a Metro driver, this is second nature). So, again, what could have been the real reason for this out of the blue traffic stop? I put forth the idea that our conversation and certain statements, might have been overheard, but that is paranoid, isn't it? Is it? Maybe, and maybe not. All I can say is that the questioning we endured, the level of intimidation and the feeling that we were powerless to defend the fact that the patrolman was in error was very real, and it left me feeling shaken to my core. What the hell has happened to the country I grew up in, where two normal people, of two different races (maybe this was a factor in the patrolman's decision to pull us over), can be stopped, given a ticket for no real reason, other than the fact that the patrolman has absolute power. Welcome to the post-911 world of 'homeland stupidity', where anything can and often does happened to regular citizens.

I guess, after marching for immigrant rights, and being aware of the stakes being raised for so many of us who don't fit the 'Friends' stereotype, I'm a little suspicious of 'government employees'. And it worries me that in broad daylight, not far from safe haven, we could be interrogated, and a person we'd never met had our fates in his hands, to do as he saw fit, right or wrong. Is this the same country I pledged allegiance to as a little girl, back in elementary school, and why aren't more people marching in the street, demanding accountability from a government that has hoisted this upon us? After all, when the immigration issue dies down (and be assured, it will-remember the furor over the WTO?), where will we all be then, and what will have been accomplished in terms of rights, and quality of living for us all? Ah yes, and then there's that little question over whether we really are marching into Iran or not. Me, I'm thinking the way the wind's blowing, it's a done deal and honestly, after the incident with the patrolman, Canada's looking better all the time.

So, if you haven't decided it's time to get out in the streets and organize a resistance to this fascism-posing-as-democracy that the Bush administration has turned our country into, just think, this is how Hitler started. Little things like demanding people account for their movements and giving power to a police force to intimidate citizens for any reason, any time, any where. What's next, papers to go from place to place, or a curfew that says you can't be out past a certain time, or you can't associate with certain people, or be involved in certain groups? And if you think 'it can't happen here', let me tell you, after looking into the cold eyes of 'the law' last week and having to remind myself, 'I know the truth and he's not seeing it, but we're getting a ticket anyway', yes it can. Get registered to vote, vote green and never let your voices be silent, or the next time, it could be you and it could be a holding cell.
 

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