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Ire has spurred the 51 percent of disgruntled Americans out of their EZ chairs and into the streets. Related Gully Coverage

Act For Democracy
Inaugural actions across the U.S., and resources to change America.

Election and Transition 2000
W's cabinet picks, posturing, political pickles and more.

Ashcroft and Bush

The soon-to-be inaugurated George W. Bush (l) shakes hands with his contested nominee for Attorney General, John Ashcroft (r).

United States

Hell to the Thief and
Other Inaugural Tourism

by Chuck 45

JANUARY 15, 2001. George W. Bush is finally taking office after the closest presidential horse race since 1876, and the first since 1888 in which the final victor hasn't won the popular vote.

Ire has spurred the 51 percent of disgruntled Americans out of their EZ chairs and into the streets. Washington, D.C.'s law enforcement authorities are bracing for the largest inaugural demonstrations since about 100,000 anti-Vietnam War protesters had a showdown with police during President Richard Nixon's second inauguration in 1973.

More than a dozen law enforcement agencies will be involved. D.C. cops will be stationed every few feet along Pennsylvania Avenue, and for the first time, people going to watch the inaugural parade will have to pass through checkpoints where bags can be searched. Signs with long handles are a no-no. And most of the Mall between the Capitol and the Washington Monument will be verboten.

Be There, Or Be Square
Demonstrators chanting Hell to the Thief, and Down with Ashcroft, will be rubbing shoulders with anti-globalization anarchists, gang Green, and pro-Bush suck-ups. While you can take your pick of several large rallies with permits, protest groups also plan to blanket the area with groups no larger than 25 -- sneakily small enough so that they don't need a permit.

Those who do have permits for demos along the parade can, and should, thank the anti-abortion group who, after being denied a permit to protest a Clinton inauguration, sued and won the right in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Al SharptonRally organizers of all spots and stripes include the National Organization for Women, the Rev. Al Sharpton, the pro-Bush Loud Citizen, the Gore Majority, Voter March, the anti-abortion Christian Defense Coalition, and the International Action Center, of Seattle fame, which, according to co-director Brian Becker, has toned down its methods, hoping to grow into a mass movement. "We know now a big part of the population actually agrees with us, but they don't want to come to a demonstration and get beat up by police and get tear-gassed."

Also present will be the Oral Majority, founded 25 years ago in Southern Florida to support gay rights, and now embroiled in investigations of voter disenfranchisement. "Our focus is going to be to make sure the entire parade knows that Bush stole the election," said Bob Kunst, 58, founder of the group.

Denouement
Call it a knife in the heart, but Bush and his VP, Dick Cheney, will be sworn in by U.S. Chief inJustice William Rehnquist, who oversaw the Supreme Court case consigning uncounted Florida ballots and American democracy to the dung heap. After the parade and a shower, W. and cronies will remove themselves to inaugural balls "Celebrating America's Spirit Together."

Gay Republicans, meanwhile, will celebrate at their very own inaugural breakfast, where they will toast to their mad delusions of lobbying George Weasel Bush for basic civil rights. Over Ashcroft's dead body.

Related links:

For the lefty International Action Center.

For the way far right Loud Citizen.

In Depth

Bush Plus
U.S. politics and the Bush administration All about George W. Bush, Dems, Greens, GOPs, and the morass of U.S. politics.

Color and Cash
race and classThe Gully's complete coverage of race and class, two intertwined pillars of American society.

New World
new worldOur Americas. Politics, democracies, failed utopias, and the sullen heirs of colonialism: from Canada to Argentina.

Gay Mundo
gay pride
The Gully's ultragay coverage. Includes musings on activism, info on queers from Guatemala to Puerto Rico and more.

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