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, uncharacteristically friendly 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 Park."

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 to heed.

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.

This 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.

Current Situation
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