Some called it the Day of Mourning; to others it was Inauguration Day. January 20 marked the official beginning of President Bush’s second term, and was greeted by protests around the United States.
In today’s world the event of an inauguration is mostly a formality. The First Lady held the bible, and the President swore to uphold the Constitution. Bush then proceeded to give a 20-minute speech extolling the American virtues of freedom and liberty, promising to stay the course.
A couple thousand protesters made the march from downtown Seattle to Westlake chanting slogans like "Not our president, not our war."
Nonviolent protests like this one are at the heart of a healthy democracy. A bunch of people got together, made a statement, and then went home. The Bill of Rights is incredible, and this is a great example of Americans using it.
Here’s the thing, and I hate to say it, but Bush is our president.
One of the unfortunate realities of representative democracy is that sometimes your candidate loses.
As clichŽ as it sounds, at the end of a bitter election season it is time to bury the proverbial hatchet. In his first term, Bush began a program that sometimes alienates our allies and leaves many opponents resentful, resulting in an electorate incredibly divided about his leadership and skeptical of the continuing conflict in Iraq.
He also won with the smallest margin of any re-elected president in more than a century. His approval rating as his second term began was the lowest of any president in modern times.
Even with these low numbers Bush is still the President of the United States, and Inauguration Day is just a formality. The thousands of protesters that assembled in Seattle, along with hundreds of thousands more around the country, could have found something more important to complain about. Something constructive.
Bush is our president and at this point no amount of chanting, marching or protesting is going to change it, so those protesters were just putting their time and energy into an issue that is not going to change.
He’s not even able to run again. Seriously, what a waste of breath.
Organizing anything takes a ton of effort and motivation, why was that time put into something that can’t be affected?
Why not bring to light the dismal amount of aid promised to South Asia in the light of December’s tsunami? Why not take a positive stance on the war in Iraq or talk about the awful condition of America’s public schools? With the death of Yasser Arafat and the ascension of Mamoud Abbas, perhaps finally a change can be brought to Palestine. Why not march for that?
The First Amendment is a powerful thing. Most of the world doesn’t even have the opportunity to voice their dissenting political opinions, and Americans should never shrink from making a statement, but it is important that we protest things that matter. Things that we can change.
Rather than waste everybody’s time protesting the formality of a presidential inauguration, dissatisfied Americans should work to make a difference in something a little more practical.
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Title: Don’t waste First Amendment | Author: Matt Weltner | Section: Opinions | Published Date: 2005-01-26 | Internal ID: 4298