An Iowa hat spat

There’s something about local politics that brings out the children in adults.

In Waterloo, Iowa, Dwayne Eilers showed up to to speak at the public comment period of the Waterloo City Council meeting and almost got himself arrested for not taking off his hat.

There was nothing particularly wrong with his hat, other than the fact it was on his head, a violation of public decorum in Waterloo, according to the mayor, who asked it be removed, then asked that Eilers be removed when resisting.

“I refuse to remove my hat because I have the right to be my own person, not the person you want me to be,” Eilers said, according to Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. “You’re stepping on my First Amendment right to speak.”

“Please remove your hat, Mr. Eilers,” the mayor demanded. “We’re not going to be a spectacle tonight.”

Five times the mayor demanded decorum defined by a thinning hairline, five times the gadfly said “no.”

That’s when they called the cops.

He left on his own.

  • ET
  • Barton

    So what is a cap or a hat? The source article refers to it as both. I have to say, I don’t know that a baseball cap would need to be removed, but I would expect any other kind of male head covering to be removed (that was not worn for religious purposes).

    Arbitrary difference? You bet. It is solely based on experience with my granddad who wore trilbies or baseball caps (usually with a farm machinery company name on it). Trilbies came off the second he walked into a building: baseball caps did not.

  • Gary F

    When I’m in Iowa, I wear my cap given to me by my uncle Louie. And I wouldn’t take it off.

    • Rob

      But you’ll have to blot out the Nike swoosh now, won’t ya?

      • Gary F

        I don’t own much Nike. Being 3XL tall and a 14EE shoe, my closet doesn’t have any Nike except a few shirts I have to wear for work occasionally.

        I did notice that today. I only really wear it when I go to Iowa, or occasionally when I want to look rural in St Paul. We’ll address that issue when it comes up.

        Bob, you get bonus points today.

    • Jerry

      That’s great until you find yourself on Pioneer or Asgrow turf. You have to watch out for those farmer gang wars.

  • crystals

    I’m intrigued by the story’s reference to this being an “adopted” and “enforced practice” – so not an actual city rule or law, I presume. As it sounds, I have no earthly idea why they think this is a) enforceable, and b) worth calling the cops for.

  • MikeB

    What can the police do with a person who does not remove his hat indoors?

    • probably arrest him for disoderly conduct or one of those catch-all ordinances

      • MikeB

        Seems unenforceable but would require being interested in contesting this.

  • Mike Worcester

    It’s unfortunate that it reached the point it did, but I’ve seen my fair share of meetings were speakers are asked to remove their caps. I had one former mayor say “I’m a retired social studies teacher and decorum is important here.” Fair enough.

  • JamieHX

    What’s up with those weird comments at the bottom?

    • Jerry

      Probably spam-bots

  • lindblomeagles

    Welcome to the new United Police States of America.

    • seedhub

      There’s nothing new about this. There were far more restrictions on public attire fifty years ago than there are now.

      • lindblomeagles

        Yep, sure was! 🙂 But we all act like these things are new.

  • Ben Chorn

    Dress codes after turning 18 seem so odd

    • Rob

      Yes. Type of clothing – or whether a person chooses to go totally without clothing – should always and everywhere be up to the individual, as long as they’re over 18.

  • Kellpa07

    I bet the hat said “F the draft. “

  • Rob

    Has anyone ever seen Michael Moore or Judah Freedlander sans hats?

  • Jack

    It’s the suspenders that should be recalled.

    Headed to Waterloo today. Hopefully my spouse won’t get accosted for his hat. No way would he wear MAGA which might be acceptable.