Mourning dad crashes Grand Old Party


Michelle Goldberg
September 1, 2004 10:13PM (UTC)

Fernando Suarez del Solar wasn't very political before his son, a 20-year-old marine named Jesus, was killed in Iraq last year. Since then, though, the 48-year-old has left his job to spend all his time agitating against the war, and last night, he took his message to Madison Square Garden.

A friend lent him a media pass, and at around 9 p.m., as Arnold Schwarzenegger began speaking, he unfurled a three-foot-wide sign with his son's picture and the words "Bush lied, my son died."

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A group of delegates immediately called security, which ushered him into Madison Square Garden's lobby. There, he says, he gave a few interviews while some passing Republicans jeered, saying, "Get out of here. You're unpatriotic." More security showed up, including members of the FBI and the Secret Service. "I say to them, 'I pay with my son's life for my freedom of speech, but you can arrest me, it's OK.' The police said, 'no sir.'"

"The surprise for me," says del Solar, "is some people, Republican people, say to me, 'I'm sorry for your loss, you are right.' About seven, eight persons say, 'I am Republican, but you are correct, this war is not necessary.'"


Michelle Goldberg

Michelle Goldberg is a frequent contributor to Salon and the author of "Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism" (WW Norton).

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