Thursday, October 28, 2004

Hometown News

Sorry to bother you with another news story of political indignation, but this one is particularly frustrating on a few levels, not least of which that it happened where I grew up.

Resident says confusion cost her tickets to Republican rally
Bucks County Courier Times

A Lower Makefield woman said she received a rude awakening Wednesday when she tried to get tickets to see President Bush today in Lower Makefield.

Simi Nischal got a ride with a co-worker to pick up tickets for herself, her husband, Narinder, and their two children. But just as the tickets were about to be placed in her hands, she was escorted from the Yardley gristmill and told to leave, she said.

" 'I deny you the right to attend this rally,' " Nischal said a Bush-Cheney campaign worker told her.

Apparently, Nischal's ride was a Kerry-Edwards supporter. Her car sported a bumper sticker for the Democratic candidates.

Nischal, a computer programmer who is originally from India, said her children wanted to see the president. The family had talked over dinner Tuesday night about attending today's campaign rally at the Broadmeadows Farm in Lower Makefield.

About lunchtime Wednesday, Nischal's co-worker dropped her off at the gristmill to pick up free tickets. When the co-worker returned, rally organizers for Bush and Vice President Cheney apparently noticed the Kerry-Edwards sticker stuck on the car, Nischal said. The organizers asked the co-worker why she was there and she responded, "to pick up Simi." While this was going on, Nischal was in the ticket office finishing paperwork and showing her identification for her tickets.

"The lady came in and said, 'Who's Simi?' " Nischal tearfully recalled Wednesday night, adding that she identified herself and was then refused tickets to the rally and escorted from the building.

Shortly after that, a man wearing a Bush-Cheney T-shirt confronted Nischal in the parking lot and told her to leave.

"He was so rude, he made me feel like a criminal," Nischal said. "I said, 'That's not fair, you are losing a supporter.' [And he said], 'We don't care about your support.' "

Nischal said onlookers cheered and laughed at her as she left the property.

But that wasn't the end of the insult, she said.

She said another co-worker took her back to the gristmill to try to clear up the confusion, but she was again refused tickets.

Multiple calls to Bucks County Republican Party headquarters, several party members and the Broadmeadows Farm were not answered. However, rally organizer Hank Miller said he could not comment on the incident because he was not there and had not heard of it.

Nischal said her daughter has been learning about the political process at school and has been a Bush supporter. She even picked up papers for her daughter to volunteer for the Bush campaign right before she was kicked out of the gristmill, she said.

Nischal said she and her husband had not voted in previous elections, but the couple wanted to set a good example for their daughter by voting this year.

"I was undecided, but we have changed our opinion," Nischal said. "You don't treat people that way."

The first thing her son asked when he got home from school Wednesday afternoon was if they would get to see the president. Nischal said her son did not understand what happened. But she said her daughter said she wasn't going to support Bush anymore.