Shoes don't make history very often. I'm old enough to remember Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on a desk at the United Nations General Assembly one year. That was a pretty good story. Shoe as gavel? Shoe as symbol of protest? Whatever.
And now of course we have an Iraqi reporter chucking both his shoes at President Bush during a Baghdad news conference. Shoe as weapon? Probably not; it's hard to imagine doing serious hurt to anybody with a shoe--maybe a spiked sports shoe or a stiletto, but these were just the usual, wear 'em to work variety. Shoes as protest--well I guess so. And did the reporter get carted off to jail in his stocking feet? Not to worry--even a jail cell in Iraq is unlikely to be cold.
Today we read that thousands turned out in the streets of Baghdad to demonstrate in support of the shoe-throwing newsie. Now that's the good news. We claim we invaded Iraq to teach them, among other things, about democracy. And what could be more democratic than showing your dislike for the power occupying your country by cheering the guy who threw shoes at its president?
I don't know, of course, what they'll do to the reporter turned shoe-chucker, but what they should probably do is give him a medal. And we, of course, should say to ourselves--hey, protest, democracy--these guys really get it. Mission accomplished (this president likes that slogan). Let's all go home.
Never happen, of course, but you've got to hope.
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