(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush took the oath of office for a second term, but not without dissent from those still bitter over the election results.
Amid cardboard caskets covered with American flags and signs proclaiming, “people over profits” and “the Christian right is neither,” about 250 protestors from dozens of grassroot organizations gathered in the District’s Dupont Circle Thursday morning to speak out against the President’s domestic and international policies. Protesters Becky Tavrog and Dana Heitz wore orange scarves similar to those worn by Ukrainians who contested the election results in favor of Viktor Yanukovich last month before fairly electing Viktor Yushchenko.
“I’m protesting the legitimacy of the election as well as Bush’s policies,” said Tavrog, who wore an orange cape reading, “52 percent does not equal mandate.”
Tavrog cited Bush’s policies on women’s reproductive rights, social security, the environment and the war in Iraq amongst her concerns for the next for years, but said she is most afraid for health care and education; “the things that make life good.”
“I don’t like how this administration is dead set on protecting life, but once it’s here, it’s screwed,” Heitz added.
One group, Keys of Resistance, helped protesters bring attention from politicians to their cause. Group members dressed as secretaries from the 1940s typed letters from those in attendance to politicians.
A member of Keys of Resistance, identifying herself as Miss Shlichta, said the early 20th century garb is reminiscent of the World War II era, “when any type of disagreement with war was seen as unpatriotic.” Shlichta said her organization has facilitated typing and mailing more than 1,000 letters to politicians over the past year.
“People are riled up,” she said of the rally. “We feel it’s a good time to get people to put their thoughts into words.”
However, some in attendance said they were just there to observe the scene, rather than protest.
“No one is really going to be paying attention about what they’re saying today,” said attendee Arielle Gingold, a freshman at The George Washington University studying political science and religion. “Everyone is going to be concerned about their own celebration.”
“I just feel like people are going to be rolling their eyes at them,” she added. Protesters said they will make sure politicians know that they are enthusiastic in their cause and will continue to fight against the Bush administration’s policies.
“There is still 48 percent of the country against him,” Tavrog said, “We’re here and we’re not going anywhere.”