As George W. Bush takes the oath of office as the 43rd president of the United States this Saturday, two GW student groups will experience feelings on opposite sides of the emotional spectrum.
Fueled by anger over a controversial election that lasted more than a month, members of the GW College Democrats said they plan to participate in a march against the election Saturday morning. At the same time, the GW College Republicans will attend a rally in support of the president-elect.
Organized by the Voter Rights Organization, the protest march is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at Dupont Circle with a rally. The march will reach to the Ellipse, where another rally will take place while protestors wait for the official parade to reach the White House.
CD Political Director Jason Benion said the group plans to participate in the march to protest the election irregularities, although they do plan to attend and support the inauguration.
“While we will be protesting the election itself, I think there is a way to express opinions about the election while still having fun with the very exciting time of the inauguration,” CD President Anjan Choudhury said.
Meanwhile, CR members said they plan to celebrate the event, and will disperse all over the city. Some will attend the official Texas Ball the night before, while others said they plan to attend other official Republican balls in addition to the GW Inaugural Ball Saturday night.
Saturday morning, prior to the swearing-in, CR members will join a counter rally of their own in support of the new president on the Supreme Court steps.
“We are going to show our support as we hope everything goes smoothly,” CR Vice Chair Shannon Flaherty said. “I personally think that Bush will be a great president, despite not winning the popular vote, because he has surrounded himself with great people.”
College Republicans said they are also excited about the opportunities available with the beginning of the Bush administration. Many members are already seeking jobs in the new White House with many already volunteering for the transition team.
“This administration taking office will present a great opportunity for young Republicans to work in the White House after eight years of the Democrats,” CR Chairman Bill Eldridge said.
Eldridge and other members said the inauguration will provide an excellent chance for students on both sides of the political spectrum to see history before their own eyes.
“I think that President Bush’s philosophy of coming together will be the theme of the weekend and this inauguration will be a celebration of America for all Americans,” CR Publications Chair Mark SooHoo said.