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Inauguration of George W. Bush:
Letter From the Editor
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Nuciforo gets his money
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School's ex-chaplain says trustees should fire headmaster
with article on Berkshire School sell out in S. County
Displaces 23 N. Adams Families
Sitting on a Toxic Time-Bomb?
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at The Berkshire Eagle
David Scribner at The Berkshire Eagle: "You've
got mail!"--- Wislocki and Friedman reply
for PCB Removal: Position Paper
the record straight--Intervenor Status & the GE Consent Decree
Underpaid, or Lying
Rotting Onion On Beacon Hill --- Chris Hodgkins
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Chartock: Is this guy a hypocrite or what?
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George W. Bush
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New York Times
Letter from the Editor
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Monterey, MA. and Washington, D.C.
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Inauguration of George W. Bush:
Two different views
of a national event
again to DC to protest Bush not fairly elected.
by Bonner McAllester
been to Washington again, this time to protest the inauguration of President
George W. Bush. I don't believe he was fairly elected this time any
more than in 2000, but even if he had been I would be standing with others
to show how deeply I disapprove of his policies, foreign and domestic.
This is the fourth time I've
taken the midnight bus to D.C. since this president took office.
There is a certain similarity to these experiences: the cramped ride down
with other protesters, talking politics and peace, sharing snacks and songs.
Each person has a strategy involving water bottle, sandwich, clothing,
This time some of us wore
white armbands to signify mourning for those killed in Iraq. Washington
can be wicked cold in the early January morning, before the sun hits the
streets. We had snow in the air this time, and something else, too.
This time, the actual object
of our ire would be present. He would not be in Mexico or at Camp
David, but driving by in a motorcade. We planned to line Pennsylvania
Avenue and then turn our backs as he went by.
After a few hours of marching
and singing and waiting at a checkpoint, the moment arrived. I couldn't
see a thing except the backsides of thousands of other protesters, but
then this incredible roar rose up from everyone and they turned around.
(I was now looking at their frontsides.) So I figured the limousine
was out there somewhere and I turned my back to it, too.
Many long miles and hours
later we got home, all tired out, our sandwiches eaten and our signs a
little rumpled. People started asking me right away: What was it
like? When you turned your back, do you think anyone noticed?
What a question! I
went because I knew someone would notice: me. «««
(The above letter was
published in the February 2005 issue of the Monterey News newspaper.
It is reproduced here without permission.)
McAllester: Sour grapes because her candidate lost.
by G.M. Heller
from Washington and all self-righteous and sour-grapes, Bonner McAllester
is angry because her candidate didn't win. She's in denial when she
says she doesn't believe George W. Bush "was fairly elected this time
any more than in 2000" (and of course, she fails to provide any clues
to inform us just how she comes to this ridiculous conclusion).
Describing her "cramped"
midnight bus ride to Washington with other anti-Bush activists, she details
her self-styled "protest" at the Inaugural Parade, and bemoans the
fact that when it was time for her big moment to remonstrate against the
passing election winner, she "couldn't see a thing except the backsides
of thousands of other protesters."
Perhaps if Ms.McAllester
were to set her sites higher than the backsides of other angry people,
she might better understand why Mr. Bush carried both electoral and
popular vote this time, and more importantly, why he and the Republicans
won hands-down in the national arena of ideas.
From the sound of Ms.McAllester's
bitter rant, one would also think a visit to the nation's capital during
the latest climax of the four-year presidential election cycle was something
to dread rather than to celebrate.
My own experience on Inaugural
Thursday was far different than Ms.McAllester's. The swearing-in
was exhilarating -- an event giving insight into American history; and
immediately following the ceremony were receptions, celebrations, and some
good old-fashioned partying.
This may sound corny to the
sophisticated effetes in this bluest county in the bluest of states, but
it was damn refreshing to witness history -- and especially to witness
in person this President taking the Oath.
The morning began overcast
and chilly at 27 degrees. When I arrived at 10AM, the air was warmer,
but the sky was still overcast and a dank gray. My seat was just
left of center with an unobstructed view (not 175 feet from the rostrum)
of the Presidential Seal and the spot where George W. was to be sworn.
(It was easy to procure what the media said were scarce' tickets.
Literally the day before, I simply walked into my Congressman's office
and asked his staff whether any tickets remained in his allotment.)
To my left sat a middle-aged
husband and wife from York, PA (about three hours north of DC). To
my right were two former college buddies, one now lived in Lynchburg, VA
while the other had flown in for the event from central Illinois.
The Lynchburg guy had driven five hours. Behind me sat three middle-aged
women from Michigan whose coats bore big yellow buttons supporting John
Kerry. They said they were quite proud of Mr. Kerry and that they
were all there as Americans to share the history of the moment.
About twenty minutes before
the noontime oath-taking, a welcome Sun broke through clearing sky.
It remained bright and cheery throughout the duration of the ceremony.
I never found out whether TV commentators made note of Sol's blazing noontime
appearance, but to me it immediately held wonderful significance and gave
special moment to the occasion, more so than the event already had.
The Sun this day not only
warmed, it gave blessing upon the entirety of the proceedings unfolding
below. The country was watching and simultaneously going through
this quadrennial political ritual, and it was as if the Sun was giving
its imprimatur. In that single moment, the historical magnificence
and uniqueness of this whole American 'thing' came into perspective, at
least for this observer.
Afterwards, as all federal
officialdom emptied the upper stands and the band filed out and folks were
leaving the section where I sat, I hung out a bit watching people pass
by. Then, rather than going over to the overcrowded parade route
to wait around for a fleeting glimpse of a moving limo with 2-inch thick
tinted glass, I chose instead the party option. I had heard that
Members of Congress were having open houses and that these were the places
to be after the ceremony.
Did I say there was food?
Contrasted with Ms.McAllester's starvation rations of her one sandwich
with bottled water, any Washington Inauguration becomes a movable
feast courtesy of your local Congressional campaign committee no matter
where you're from. All-you-could-eat buffet platters stocked with
cold cuts, cheeses, sandwiches, salad fixings, shrimp cocktail, pastries,
fruit, fresh-baked cookies, and refreshments were all free for any hungry
mouth -- Democrat, Republican, or Independent -- willing to come in and
just say hi.
MOC's, their wives and families,
staffs, and constituents and their families from all over the country converged
this day within the halls of the House and Senate Office Buildings.
There were funny stories, flesh pressing, and a whopping good time.
I pigged out. In one MOC's office, I polished-off at least a pound
of shrimp before attacking cold-cut sandwiches and finally, of course,
the chocolate-chip cookies.
I didn't come across Ms.McAllester
amongst this famished throng (though I caught a glimpse of a few T-shirts
emblazoned with a variety of protest slogans), but she and her angry comrades
would certainly have been welcomed had they just shown-up to partake of
the feast. The atmosphere these open houses engendered reminded me
of the good humor and exuberance at the annual Berkshire Botanical Garden
'Harvest Festival.' It was that kind of crowd, except these
party goers, far away from home, were augmenting their good cheer with
a never-to-be-forgotten living history lesson.
The people I saw in those
Capitol Hill buildings that Thursday afternoon did not appear angry nor
bitter nor depressed nor victimized. At that point, they were just Americans
having a real hoot of a good time. My guess is that that innate American
optimism is what will carry us and this President forward through the next
four years. «««
[Here is my Official
Inaugural Invitation and Seat
G. Washington 1732-1799