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Friday, July 09, 2004

From this morning's Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal:

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - Walking in a crowd of about 130 mostly black-clad, flag-waving anti-Bush protesters Thursday, Joyce Crawford reflected on the president's 2003 comment that antiwar protests are "a beautiful thing" that reflect the glory of democracy.

"He's right, this really is beautiful. It's too bad Bush never actually sees democracy to appreciate it," said Crawford, a Lancaster resident.

130 people turning out the night before W. visits isn't bad, especially in this neck of the woods, which doesn't exactly have a long tradition of protest.

But wait, it gets better:

The protest was made up of anti-Bush groups including Lancaster Peace and Justice Coalition, Women in Black, Democracy for America and the Lois Herr for Congress campaign. Women outnumbered men 3-to-1.


"We're very happy with the turnout, especially considering the short notice given," said Lynn Paules of Lancaster. "This could not have happened in this county a year ago. You can feel a groundswell of committed people who are determined to rid us of Bush."

Mel Lucht, 60, who once protested against nuclear weapons, said he was compelled to bring his 16-year-old daughter, Elisa Gould-Lucht, to the Lancaster protest. The son of Lucht's best friend in Nebraska died when his U.S. Marine unit was ambushed in Iraq.

"I just can't stay quiet any longer. I needed something like this to vent," Lucht said.

Elisa said she was inspired to protest after watching director Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11," a documentary critical of Bush's war policy.

"'Fahrenheit 9/11' showed me the truth and compelled me to do what I can to stop the killing of innocent people," she said.

Protest signs also alluded to Moore's film, but most messages were aimed directly at Bush. A colorful sign carried by Sarah Bertola, a Franklin & Marshall University senior, read "Stop the Mad Cowboy Disease."


Some protest signs criticized Bush's record on environmental protection - "More Trees, Less Bush" - while others trashed Bush and his father - "Like Father, Like Son, One Term You're Done."

I couldn't make it--meeting with the church council--and I may not be able to make the campaign stops today.  (Bush's appearance in Lancaster is a private, twenty-minute speech at a local electrical company owned by a former Amishman!)

But this indeed warms the heart.

Tell me your sense of the direction in your part of the country.

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