Uncle Sam Needs You to Be a Suspected Terrorist

Wise-ass humor is the best way to fight the Bush administration's anti-terror excesses. And, hey, wise-ass humor is what we do best.

So I urge you all to take direct and irritating action. Clip SF Weekly's version of Gilmore's button, which he says was dreamed up by a political activist named Emi Koyama, paste it to a disc of cardboard, stick a safety pin through it, and wear it on your chest. Wear it on visits to the Federal Building, on air flights, during visits to your in-laws. Perhaps if enough people do this, our government will start getting the message that it's not OK to turn America into a 1950s-era rural Louisiana parish in the name of combating terrorism.

If Gilmore's experience is any guide, such awareness-raising might not be as trying as it initially seemed. In an e-mail message, Gilmore told me he was able to board a Virgin Atlantic flight to London two days after he was thrown off the British Airways plane.

Did Virgin personnel allow him to wear the "Suspected Terrorist" button?

"Yes, they did. No trouble at all," he responded from his European vacation spot. "Bravo to Sir Richard Branson and his staff."

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