Michael Moore’s Slacker Uprising tour was greeted Thursday night by dueling shouts of “Four more years!” and “12 more days!” and signs proclaiming everything from “Billionaires for Bush” to “Free Mumia.”
It was a veritable cornucopia of protesters and activists in a crowd peppered with signs, tiaras and the occasional flip-flop.
The College Republican National Committee, chaired by Temple student Jessica Wallen, heard about Moore’s visit early and organized Wednesday night according to Drexel freshman and member P.J. Rebovich.
Wallen later donned a full-body flip-flop costume over her “Deport Michael Moore” T-shirt and marched up and down Broad Street.
“When we found out [that Moore would be at Temple] we called schools from all over the area,” Wallen said. “In a city like Philadelphia that’s so liberal, we wanted…people to know that we’re here, too.”
“As a small business owner, I’m concerned…about Kerry. About the higher standards he wants to hold small businesses to,” said Rebovich, a DJ who will be working at a sweet-16 party tonight as “P.J. the DJ.”
“I’ve had my own business for 6 years…since I was 12,” he explained before returning to a loud chant of “four more years.”
Temple’s College Democrat group also mobilized, handing out signs and jostling into clumps of Bush supporters to chant “four more wars” and “two more weeks.”
Freshman Tom McDonald described the Democrats’ gathering as “strictly a responsive rally” to prevent the Republican group from monopolizing the scene.
“We’re a big group on campus,” said College Democrat leader Asaf Holtzman. Citing more than 270 students on their e-mail list, Holtzman said “students are broke because of financial aid cuts the President made…especially Temple, a public institution.”
Moore’s appearance was a forum not only for the major political parties but for groups as varied as the “Free Mumia” movement and “ACT,” a voter registration group.
Political activists not affiliated with either campaign included the bejeweled and be-furred “Billionaires for Bush,” who walked up and down the sidewalk wearing tiaras and top hats.
“We’re here to tell you college students not to bother your pretty little heads about politics…if you make under $200,000 a year you shouldn’t have to worry about running the country,” said one of the ladies who called herself only “Golda N. Slipper.”
Temple police officers patrolled the scene, shooing groups of protesters away from the front of the building and trying to keep the sidewalk clear for those not heading into the Liacouras Center for the main event.
Leah Blewett may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.