"At this second gathering, our duties are defined not by the words I use, but by the history we have seen together." — George W. Bush
As an activist journalist I went to Washington D.C., for the second inauguration of George W. Bush. I felt drawn to counter-inauguration activities. Not really interested in watching the pomp and circumstance of a dark, Secret Service laden, limo drive by, I opted instead for rallies, a march and lunch behind the White House. Homeland security made getting to the presidential parade route a daunting task, so mingling outside the barricaded checkpoints, watching protesters agitate was more than enough to help make sense of the history being made that day.
A martini at lunch helped the roof top snipers seem less threatening.
I spent the morning of January 20, 2005 with a cross section of the American left. In the nation's capital to protest the first administration of the 43rd president, everyone had issues that eventually led back to GWB. Denouncing the war on Iraq is what brought everyone together. Dressed for biting cold and a long anticipated revolution, dissenters converged in Malcolm X park to hear speakers, a little anti war music, and rally before taking to the streets in opposition to GWB's war of occupation, and corporate war-mongering in general.
The Green Party was represented in the crowd, as were the Green Alliance, Code Pink, and the Anarchist Black Bloc. A.N.S.W.E.R., Billionaires For Bush, Not in Our Name, Veterans for Peace, Raging Grannies, and EarthFirst! were also represented, along with anti-Kerry Democrats, radical Queer groups, and members of the ISO. People of every race, creed and color made up a veritable rainbow of informed dissent.
This was the other side of George W. Bush's history shared.
The gathered revolutionaries were under no illusion that their protests were being heard by the POTUS, and the corporate Neocons that pulled his strings. Instead they were determined to send a message to the world, with a few well-staged photo ops, that George W. Bush did not speak for the majority of the People of the United States. The world media complied. Most importantly people came together too discuss intent and strategy for the second Bush term.
Environmentalists have always known the war in Iraq is not about winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. They know it has little to do with regime chance, or spreading freedom and democracy in the Arab world. As neither has been achieved in the USA. From their ecologist perspective, the war mongering of GWB is really about providing cover for the real mandate of the Bush Administration, namely the rape and plunder of the world's natural resources, by the very corporate cronies financing every election in the past century.
Oil in Iraq, oil in Alaska, the forests of California, Oregon, and Washington, minerals and natural gas in Wyoming, and coal beds of Kentucky are just a few of the battle fronts in the Bush War on the environment. The list is long. So is the list of corporate contributors kicking up their boots at the ten inaugural balls held after the swearing in.
Environmental policy need not be benign, restorative, or conservation based to be considered a success. The environmental policies put forward by the first George W. Bush administration have been extremely successful. Policy is policy, right? Natural resource management policy that is destructive, shortsighted, and irreversible is considered a success by utilitarian standards. Deregulation, budget cuts, and corporate cronyism are being used to systematically promote and project corporate avarice while radically altering the governance of public lands and the global commons.
Although key habitat for caribou and wild geese, Interior Secretary Gale Norton believes the 400,00 acres surrounding Lake Teshekpuk will be unaffected by the extraction of 2 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 3.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The morning after Inauguration 55, the Bureau of Land Management announced oil and gas exploration on Alaska's north slope, can be conducted "with minimal impact" on surrounding biology.
Do I need to mention Interior Secretary Gale Norton is one of the few cabinet holdovers from the first Bush Administration?
During the second administration of George w. Bush expect nothing to change in substance or style, other than a few faces and the rational used to justify the crimes against humanity emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. While the world worries about the war on terror, Bush administration political appointees are laying waste to the environment.
Expect another four years of ecological plunder.