This Saturday, you can help change history forever. Not since Richard Nixon’s 1973 inauguration will so many people protest the election of a president. The protests will culminate the movement made visible in demonstrations against the World Trade Organization in Seattle. While it is distressing that a society that embraces the peace movement of the ’60’s has rejected the recent protests, it is understandable that many Americans have not supported the anti-World Trade Organization and Wold Bank demonstrations of the past year due to the lack of a convincing cause to unite behind.
This time, that excuse cannot be made. For only the fourth time in history, the candidate winning the popular vote did not win the presidency. The ballot-counting debacle in Florida left us all with strong emotions regarding the functionality of our nation’s electoral process. Recent recounts by Florida newspapers revealed that Al Gore won two counties previously awarded to George W. Bush. If this is not reason enough to protest, there are plenty more.
Suspicions that black voters in Florida were intentionally disenfranchised were confirmed by testimony to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission that revealed stories of voters encountering police checkpoints and being wrongfully removed from voting rolls.
While Bush was governor of Texas, 127 executions were carried out including several of mentally retarded convicts. Bush’s stance on capital punishment earned him the apt nickname “Governor Death.”
Bush’s selection of prominent Gulf War figures Dick Cheney and Colin Powell for important positions remind us that we are still waging an unjust war against Iraq. Every month, approximately 5,000 children die as a direct result of U.S. bombings and United Nations sanctions. Our treatment of Iraqis has prompted the Kuwaiti foreign minister to plead for us to treat them “as human beings, not cattle.”
Bush’s appointments also reflect his reproachful policies. John Ashcroft, nominated for attorney general, is an anti-choice Bible-beater who once said he wished the South had not lost as much as it did in the Civil War. Gale Norton, appointed to be secretary of the interior, is a threat to the environment and the conservation efforts of Bill Clinton.
These are only a few reasons to raise your voice against the Bush presidency. If you voted for Gore, protest the unlawful rejection of our rightful president and the invalidation of your vote. If you voted for Ralph Nader, protest the Republican platform that directly undermines those that you support. If you voted for Bush, come protest, too. Your party chose to give all of its bleacher seat tickets to major corporate sponsors rather than loyal supporters. Saturday is a chance to stand up for the legitimacy of our democracy and make a little history.
-The writer, a sophomore, is Hatchet production manager.