Matthew Ferraro ’04 has a date for tomorrow at noon. A date with his television, that is. With a bowl of popcorn in one hand and his remote control in the other, Ferraro, like many Yalies, will watch the inauguration of our country’s 43rd president.
While most students plan to observe the historical event quietly in their suites, some Yalies have big plans for the inauguration of George W. Bush ’68, be them celebration or protest. Students from all parts of the political spectrum will be travelling to Washington D.C. this weekend — some to welcome the next president and others to rebuke him.
Howard Clark ’02, president of the Yale College Republicans and a Washington, D.C. native, will spend the day rubbing elbows with the big-wigs, serving as an escort for Bush’s family and friends.
Clark said crowds of spectators and tight security will likely pack the nation’s capital making it difficult to just go and observe the events. To make sure they got to be part of the action, Clark and about six other Yale Republicans volunteered to help.
While Clark is touring the city with Bush’s entourage, other Yalies will be doing a smorgasbord of tasks, such as selling tickets and handing out souvenirs to the crowd.
Serving as volunteers will entitle the Yale students to passes for all the day’s events, including tickets to Ricky Martin and 98 Degrees concerts.
Sarah Wolf ’02 will also be in Washington D.C. Saturday, but she certainly won’t be volunteering for Bush.
“I don’t respect Bush as all,” she said. “He’s not legitimate.”
By sending e-mails to progressive student groups and spreading the word at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day events, Wolf and other student organizers rounded up a group of about 30 students to travel to Washington, D.C. in protest.
Wolf said she is protesting Bush’s inauguration because she believes he “essentially stole the election.”
Waving signs and banners and chanting anti-Bush remarks, the Yale group will join other protesters from throughout the country in lining the inaugural parade route.
Wolf said protesting directly in Washington, D.C. is essential, as it sends a strong message to the new administration that many Americans disapprove of their agenda.
Greg Yolen ’04, the New Haven coordinator for the Yale College Democrats, agrees with Wolf’s disapproval of Bush, but not with her response to it.
“They’re sure not going to see me [in Washington, D.C.],” he said. “They wanted Greg Yolen there, but no dice, Bush.”
According to Yolen, the election has already been robbed from the Democrats. Yolen said since the election is already over, Democrats must move on rather than protest their defeat.
“I think what we have to do, what I have to do, what the Dems have to do and what we’re already doing is to accept the reality of how tough these next four years are going to be — from our standpoint at least,” Yolen said.
Yolen and some other Yale Democrats plan to participate in political events closer to home, at a rally on the steps of the courthouse at the New Haven Green at noon tomorrow. The event is not planned to be a protest, but a show of support and gratitude to political figures like U.S. Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Christopher Dodd.
“It’s up to [senators such as Lieberman and Dodd] now that they don’t give up valuable ground to Bush,” he said.
Yolen said getting lost in the crowds in Washington, D.C. would not effectively send this message.