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For many, Inauguration Day is time to protest.

Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Pam Driscoll For The Register-Guard

Concerned citizens all over the world are planning counter-inauguration events, protests and strikes for Jan. 20, George W. Bush's Inauguration Day.

Why protest President Bush's inauguration? Many, myself included, believe there is ample evidence that the last two presidential elections were stolen. The very fact that a bill requiring paper ballot trails for computerized voting was blocked in Congress before the Nov. 2 election raises suspicions. Why were the exit polls so far off - but only in states with computerized voting machines? We believe the truth has not been exposed, the election process has been undermined and a serious investigation is needed.

Why protest President Bush's inauguration? His administration's reasons for going to war in Iraq were based on lies. As a result, thousands of innocent people have been murdered, many more have been tortured and communities have been devastated. The military budget has been increased to $500 billion a year, yet the administration cut health benefits for veterans. This president's loyalty does not rest with the U.S. people.

Why protest President Bush's inauguration? Our politicians are being bought and sold by big money, and Bush took more corporate campaign donations than any president in history. One of the first people Bush met with after becoming president in 2000 was Ken Lay, CEO of Enron.

Why protest President Bush's inauguration? Since Bush took office there have been more than 400 major environmental rollbacks. Orwellian doublespeak is used to trick the public - the destruction of forests is called the Healthy Forest Initiative, and allowing for more air pollution is called the Clear Skies bill. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that our waterways are getting dirtier for the first time since the passage of the Clean Water Act. Asthma rates in children have doubled in the last five years. According to the EPA, 5,500 Americans die every year from the illegal pollution from 70 different industrial plants.

Why protest President Bush's inauguration? The Superfund program is headed by a man whose last job was to teach corporations how to avoid Superfund listings. Thousands of species are going extinct, the web of life is being destroyed, and Bush tells us to help out and go shop. He is the worst environmental president in U.S. history.

The list goes on and on. In his first year in office, he set the record for most days on vacation by any president. He took off the entire month of August before the security failure known as Sept. 11. After those terrorist attacks, the United States had the world's empathy. But since then, Bush has turned most of the world against us.

While jobs were being shipped overseas, he cut unemployment benefits for out-of-work Americans. He signed more laws and executive orders limiting citizens' rights than any other president. He dissolved more international treaties than any president in history. He does nothing for the millions without health care as costs skyrocket and wages remain stagnant. He talks about morality, and in the same breath starts a war and gives money to the rich.

It's hard to even think about what's in store for the next four years. I recently got an offer for a four-year calendar with a "countdown to Bush's retirement." I don't want that calender. A countdown to impeachment would be much more appealing.

Bush is a "uniter." Fifteen million people united and took to the streets around the world to protest his war with Iraq. On Jan. 20, millions will unite to take to the streets again.

In Eugene, a broad coalition of students, teachers, citizens, interfaith groups and political organizations is planning a series of events for Inauguration Day. We have rights as citizens, but more importantly we have responsibilities. It is our responsibility to be educated on the issues. And learning about the Bush administration's true character would be a fitting way to fulfill our civic duty on Inauguration Day.

Pamela Driscoll is a substitute teacher, artist and activist. She ran for the Eugene City Council in Ward 6 in 1998. On Inauguration Day there will be speakers and music from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the UO's EMU Ampitheater, 1222 E. 13th Ave. At 3:30 p.m., participants will march to the Federal Building, 211 E. Seventh Ave., where there will be speakers, drumming, singing and a candlelight march around the building from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Cozmic Pizza, 199 W. Eighth Ave., will have informational tables all day, with music, theater and speakers from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Date:Jan 18, 2005
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