With the inauguration of George W. Bush this past weekend, protesters remained strong against a person they see as a tyrant.
Bush’s inauguration took place amid strong protests by more than 20,000 members of various groups and organizations. One such group, the International Socialist Organization (ISO), included students from Temple University.
A member of the ISO and organizer of the protest, Nicole Colson, felt there was a need to protest because there is still great anger over the “election fiasco.”
It is her belief, and that of her organization, that there was major “fraud” in the election. They believe this fraud occurred without repercussions.
“There have been massive claims of African-American voters in Florida who were hindered from reaching the polls,” Colson said. “Many of the ballots in Florida, as we all know, were unclear, which resulted in inaccurate voting. We have to voice these issues.”
And those issues were voiced, as evidenced by the numerous “Hail to the Thief” signs that lined the inaugural parade route.
Patrick Gallagher, another member of the organization, felt that a protest was needed to let it be heard that there is still great dissatisfaction with not only the election, but with the actual ensuing Bush presidency.
“Al Gore won the popular vote,” Gallagher said, “and yet in spite of unfair practices such as harassment of minority voters in Florida, Bush won the electoral vote and has become our president.”
He believes that the inauguration was “only the beginning of the protesting against Bush because his policies will not be well-received by the non-wealthy American population, which they do not benefit.”
Steve Scarlata, a senior history major at Temple and protester, also has great uneasiness regarding the Electoral College system. Overall he feels the inauguration of Bush is more of a “coronation rather than an inauguration.”
“The purpose of this protest was as a peaceful demonstration to speak out against the issues of voter fraud and unfair election practices,” Scarlata said.
Like many of the protesters, Scarlata voted for Ralph Nader. However, he believes Gore won the election by a good amount of votes that simply were not counted.
Many independent groups and organizations are prepared to make use of the laws in Florida to count the votes themselves. What will happen once the “true results” of the election are uncovered is something that Scarlata feels will be “problematic for our nation and the Bush presidency.”
Colson, Gallagher and Scarlata, as well as other Temple protesters, have a strong degree of suspicion regarding the lack of organization in counting ballots, as well as Bush’s advantages resulting from having a brother as governor in the one state he needed to win the election.
The protesters believe that for a nation that oversees foreign elections to make sure they are properly run, the United States itself has much room for improvement in its own electoral process.
If Scarlata had to say one good thing has come out of this election it would be that the nation will look more closely at the flaws in the electoral process and realize that it needs to be remedied.
These protesters are hoping this will happen within the next four years, in time for the next election. For now, they are entitled to their opinions and have spoken them in our nation’s capital. That they can speak out against an election they feel has been unfair is a privilege of living in the United States that they fully realize.
Their goal, however, was to bring the flaws of the electoral process to the surface in order to make sure they are ameliorated for future election years, and they feel they have accomplished just that. Whether they indeed will be ameliorated is something that only time will tell.
Kara Deniz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.