1989 to 1993 - The Bush Years
1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992
Reagan - Clinton
By the time George Bush gave his inauguration
speech in 1989, certain segments
of the population were becoming tired
of the "Reagan Revolution,"
which Vice President Bush had implemented and gave signs of continuing
as President. A large coalition
of peace activists came together
to stage a "Counter-Inauguration,"
featuring a banquet for homeless people
outside Union Station, There were several
demonstrations, and a prayer vigil
at National Cathedral while the Bushes were inside.
By 1989, two other sets of signs and several creative
young people, affectionately known
as the "Ragtag Band,"
had for several years increased
the number of vigilers, bringing
music - petitioners
- volunteers - energy
- friends - and most importantly,
the interested public and a loving influence, to Peace
Park. A number of homeless people
had been attracted by the vigil, and decided to stay,
crowded up against wire fences.
The press were characteristically
sympathetic to the homeless,
to the vigil. Vigiler Brett Hamrick's signs, standing
at the foot of 16th Street, were featured
in the inaugural section of the
Washington Post, and at least one
reporter referred to it as "Peace
Columnist Haynes Johnson
wrote about Thomas' sign, Wanted,
Wisdom & Honesty." St John's
Church on Lafayette Square, aka "the President's Church,"
gave a homily about peace and
tolerance which Mr. Bush unfortunately failed
The Gulf War
Lafayette Park Crack Scandal
In addition to his hotly contested
adventure in Iraq, and his various
lies to the press (two lies we caught were the "Lafayette
Park Crack Scandal" of 1989, and "those
damn drums" of 1991, which continued to haunt
him in 1996), Mr. Bush
encouraged or permitted Department of Interior lawyers to publish
a fourth regulation designed
to further restrict demonstrators in Lafayette Park to no more
than "three cubic feet of property," including literature
and whatever is necessary to protect oneself from the elements.
regulation remains on the books, impossible to abide by and survive
winter weather, and evoked by Park Police officers the week before
inauguration '97 to intimidate Concepcion and make all vigilers
very uncomfortable during bitter weather.
The uncaring attitude
which plagued the country for the decade of the '80's may be why
George Bush had only one inauguration.
Nevertheless, the damage was done. Regulations had become
so restrictive that all our fellow vigilers drifted away.
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