Students braved the cold winds on Cross Campus Thursday to express their thoughts to President George Bush ’68 on the day of his inauguration by signing a banner provided by the Yale College Democrats.
The scroll, a large, white banner bearing the heading, “President Bush: You Lead a Divided Nation,” provided a medium for students to express their thoughts about the previous Bush administration, the 2004 election and the future of the nation.
“[The scroll] seemed like a good way to get the message across not only to Bush, but more importantly to students, that our organization isn’t giving up the fight despite what happened on Nov. 2,” said Brendan Gants ’08, the Yale College Democrats campaigns coordinator who helped organize the scroll.
Messages left for President Bush by nearly 150 students ranged from hopeful thoughts for the next four years to somber reflections on his previous actions as president. The messages touched on issues including the environment, the conditions of troops in Iraq, and gay and women’s rights.
“Last April over one million men, women, and children marched on Washington to ask you to protect the rights of women that you have been destroying,” wrote Laura Janoff ’06. “Please do not forget us.”
Gants said the College Democrats will give other “progressive” student groups the opportunity to add their thoughts to the scroll before it is sent to the White House.
The idea for the scroll was developed last semester by the current board of the Yale College Democrats as a way to give more visibility to the group, Gants said.
“We wanted to provoke a reaction,” Gants said. “We wanted people to see that we still intend to be a force on campus.”
While the scroll was certainly a reminder of how the Nov. 2 election split the nation down the middle, with 51 percent of the country voting for Bush, the Yale College Democrats intended it to be a progressive statement.
“As Yale students, we have a responsibility to tell Bush what we envision for the next four years,” College Democrats President Alissa Stollwerk ’06 said.
Stollwerk said as students at Bush’s alma mater, the College Democrats feel a particularly strong duty to express the views of Yale students to Bush.
With this forward attitude, the Yale College Democrats are planning several activities to keep their organization alive in New Haven. Over the next four years, Gants said they intend to lobby at the statehouse in Hartford in support of stem cell research and other issues, raise funds and strengthen their ties with the greater New Haven community by speaking at schools and facilitating voter registration.
“We’re still committed to working on the same issues and being effective in local and national politics today and in the future,” Gants said.
When Bush accepted his inauguration, he expressed his desire to give America a “future of peace.” Stollwerk said the Yale College Democrats plan to hold him to these words.
“The campaign is over,” Stollwerk said. “Now we need to make sure that the government does what we want it to do.”