Bush protesters are just sore losers

Mary Sanchez

Inaugurations are for the winners.

The day doesn’t belong to those who think themselves the losers.

So the protesters who appeared during George Bush’s inauguration ceremonies missed their mark. They picked the wrong day to show their disdain for Bush and the administration’s policies.

Worse, they likely turned off the very people they need to reach. By protesting on Inauguration Day, they painted themselves squarely into the “losers” corner.

Sore losers at that.

Grass-roots Democrats, progressives, liberals — whatever name is used — must drop the loser/victim role if they want to voice their opinions effectively during the next four years.

Some Democrats have wisely shifted their discussions since the November elections. They are dusting themselves off and figuring out how to re-approach the issues that concern them.

A book emerging as necessary reading is Don’t Think of an Elephant!, George Lakoff’s brilliant way of explaining how conservatives speak and reach people, versus the approach often taken by liberals. As the book explains, Democrats would like to believe that if you give people tons of facts, opinions will magically shift. But people don’t.

Some people hear those facts like oh-so-much blather, kind of like the teacher’s voice in a “Peanuts” TV special.

These people are not stupid, immoral or wrong. They simply are not hearing the information liberals want to give. That is also why Inauguration Day was a poor choice for the protests.

Inaugurations are the moment when the country, at least in theory, steps behind the newly elected leader.

Protesting on Inauguration Day spits on that democratic principle.

Wrong moment, wrong message.

Only one image from the protests was not offensive and therefore damaging to what the protesters wanted to accomplish: the cardboard-shaped coffins draped in American flags that were carried.

The coffins became the focus, not the angry protesters.

And so an important point was put across; amid all the pomp of Inauguration Day, soldiers and civilians are dying in Iraq. Which leads to the question of when can protests surmount being simply an outlet for rage?

When the attention is drawn, and protesters can then offer another viable answer or option, said protest scholar James Hudnut-Beumler of Vanderbilt University .

So people who found themselves annoyed by the festivities of the inauguration should mull this question: “Do you want to be effective, or just angry?”

For those who insist that the protesters had every right to be there, yes, they did. Protesting is a constitutionally guaranteed right.

But the protesters didn’t have enough insight to realize that Inauguration Day was not the time, and Pennsylvania Avenue was not the place.

Mary Sanchez is an opinion-page columnist for The Kansas City Star. Her column was made available through KRT Campus.