|Froggy (infrogmation) wrote in infojunkies,|
@ 2002-06-16 10:59:00
As I sit here before you, I must admit I am truly exhausted from a full day. I've read the thread about Ohio State on LBN, and I am here to tell you it is true...and then some. I'll try to hit all the details.
And what happened to us is truly unbelieveable.
We arrived at Ohio Stadium at 6am. A rally was scheduled at the Jesse Owens memorial site for that time, and the graduates were to be at their places by 630am. Family and friends were permitted to enter at that time as well.
I didn't get close enough to the 6am rally, but in my search for an organizer of Turn Your Back On Bush, I did indeed hear the announcement. Graduating students were told that they would be expelled and arrested if they turned their backs. they were alerted that dozens of staff memebers and police officers would be watching the stands, as well as the Secret Service. A few students asked for the definition of expulsion....did it mean removal from the stadium or refusal of their diplomas, or both? One of the persons at the front said "Both. And what will your parents do when they are paged from the crowd to bail out their son?" I do not know if this person had an official capacity with the Ohio State University or any police department.
I must say, I did not hear that exchange. I was informed of it later when I found outside the stadium protesting. To tell these ADULTS that after 4 years and 80,000 dollars that they would be tossed aside if they didn't face a certain direction?????
I began to wonder how many of those students went to find their friends who were graduating pre- law.....
We entered the stadium later with family and friends, and similar statements swirled around the crowd. "Please make sure you stand and loudly cheer our President. Our graduates have been requested to do the same, and have agreed to give a loud cheer for Mr. Bush", etc.....
Once inside, we decided that it might not be a good idea to be too close to the front. We saw the lines of people waiting to get in the stadium.....and yes, we saw the yellow buses that carted them all in. I asked one of them where they were from. The woman replied "Upper Arlington". However, she could not provide a zip code when I asked her for it (the main zip code for UA is 43221). Figuring on the masses of bussed-in people, we knew it might not be wise to be up front.
We went behind the graduates and looked for peace signs on the mortar boards (a sign that was meant to ID the Turn-Your-Backers). It was really difficult to get an accurate count, but there were a LOT of peace signs. I was sure that we weren't the only ones counting peace signs.
It didn't take long for our stomachs to turn....the first speaker (I believe teh OSU President) began spouting about how proud they were to have Bush there. He said "We have a long tradition of inviting great men and women to speak at our commencements." I quickly responded "but since we couldn't get one, here's Georgie".
That got the attention of the state trooper in front of us. His eyes were on me the rest of the time.
The speech continued to mention that Chimpy was "a tireless worker in the field of education" and "a man who unified this country after the terrible events of 9/11". It was interesting to note that it took a LONG time for the 9/11 applause to turn into a standing ovation....they held out for that one, not continuing the speech intentionally.
About 10 minutes later, Shrub was introduced to speak. Before he even got to the stage, we did our about-face. I looked over my shoulder to see how many graduates were doing the same. However, everybody was standing at that point, and in pure black robes, it was impossible to see who was facoing what direction. Furthermore, over that same shoulder, I saw one of Columbus' Finest heading our way.
We never got to see how many students participated. We were being led out of Ohio Stadium. To the officers' credit, he realized there was a 3-year-old in my arms and was not at all hostile. I asked him if I was under arrest, and he did not answer me. When we reached the exit, I asked the SS man why we had been ejected, and he told me we were being charged with disturbing the peace. If we chose to leave, the charges would be dropped immediately.
With our daughter in mind, we chose not to fight it. I am sure we will regret it someday when Bush's fabulous economy strikes us and we need a few million in a lawsuit. But our daughter did not need any more irritation on this day.
On this day, June 14th, 2002, I came to the realization that we no longer live in a free society. This is rapidly heading in the same way Nazi Germany headed. Questioning our leaders is no longer the most outrageous crime you can be charged with. Not paying attention to them is.
As you take in this message I give to you, I would like to add a footnote.
Next time, I will not leave quietly.
Next time, I will not allow you to intimidate my fellow Americans who wish to speak out.
Next time I will not be so blind when I confront you.
Next time we meet, I will have more people with me to oppose you.
Next time, I will have brought voter registration cards for people whose eyes I will open to your oppression.
And next time, I will have a babysitter.
Protesters gather for, against Bush's commencement speech
By Andy Schwartz
Groups of people gathered today on the southeast corner of Tuttle Park Place and Woody Hayes Drive, to protest the policies and speech of President Bush at Ohio State's commencement ceremony.
The protesters aligned themselves in front of the columns facing Ohio Stadium and a long line people awaiting entrance into the stadium. The more than 50 protesters included OSU students and even some faculty members.
"One thing we want to do is make clear that Bush has supported Israel's invasion of Palestinian territories," said Joseph Levine, a member of the philosophy department and a faculty advisor on the OSU Committee for Justice in Palestine. "Bush has become a pal of Ariel Sharon and we want to protest Bush's support for Israel."
Fellow philosophy faculty member Louise Antony was also there to support the protest.
"George Bush is the greatest threat to domestic and international security," Antony said.
Others were there questioning the president's use of power.
"It's really ironic because conservative people always say they like to have smaller government," said Yoshie Furuhashi, lecturer in the English department. "Instead they (Bush administration) are making government really, really big."
The group gathered at about 5:30 a.m. and broke out into chants of "Turn your back on Bush", but Bush was not without supporters of his own.
A smaller group of sign carrying students could be seen just a block south of the anti-Bush demonstrations.
"We're here to support our president," said Brad Saull, a junior in business at the Marion campus. "This is a historic visit to Ohio State."
The targeted audience of both groups of demonstrators -- the long line of people waiting to get through security checks on their way into commencement -- generally spoke negatively of the protests.
"It's a leisure activity for people who have leisure time," said Dorian Wingard, a person attending graduation.
Ayo Boykin, also waiting in line and witnessing the protests, agreed.
"It's not an effective way to get your message across," Boykin said.
The protests were generally peaceful but a few heated exceptions were also visible.
At one point, a male from the crowd, broke into a scuffle with another man from the group of anti-Bush demonstrators. The two had to be separated by other protesters.
In another incidence, chants of "O-H-I-O" broke out amongst the people waiting in line in competition with the microphone of the anti-Bush demonstrators.
Lantern wire editor Anthony Dill contributed to this story.
But immediately before class members filed into the giant football stadium, an announcer instructed the crowd that all the university's speakers deserve to be treated with respect and that anyone demonstrating or heckling would be subject to expulsion and arrest. The announcer urged that Bush be greeted with a "thunderous" ovation.