U students travel to D.C.

Greg Corradini

For the 55th presidential inauguration, University students Philip Goyette and Tyler Richter traveled approximately 1,100 miles to Washington Both, however, are on far different sides of the political fence.

They will join Americans today at the historic event that will include thousands of spectators, many of whom hold varying opinions on the re-elected president.

Goyette, a first-year student, is the state organizer for Turn Your Back On Bush, a nonviolent activist group that literally turns around and quietly stands in protest when the president appears.

The activist group started in 2002 when President George W. Bush spoke at a graduation commencement in Ohio, according to its Web site.

Goyette said he and approximately 37 Minnesota activists were planning on using the inaugural parade as a target for their back-turning protest.

By showing a lack of support for the Bush administration, Goyette said, he hopes to show other countries around the world that some U.S. citizens disagree with the current government.

“Just because we’re the smaller group doesn’t mean we are giving up,” Goyette said. “We are going to keep the fight going, no matter what.”

Goyette said the amount of money spent on the presidential inauguration – he estimated at $40 million – is one aspect he finds offensive. The inauguration is costing more, he said, than the original amount the Bush administration pledged for tsunami victims.

“It seems a little questionable that we are spending that much money on a little party,” he said.

Richter, a University senior and vice chairman of The Minnesota Daily Board of Directors, took an airplane to attend Bush’s swearing-in ceremony and the parade.

Richter said he was the regional field director of Bush’s re-election campaign for the last three months.

“I guess as a reward I got a big packet in the mail last week, inviting me to come down for the celebration,” he said.

In terms of the inaugural ceremonies, Richter said only privately raised money will pay for events. He said he couldn’t complain about private companies, such as General Mills and Ford, that want to donate money to

the president’s inauguration ceremony.

“They can do what they want with it,” he said. “It’s their money.”

As far as security precautions, Richter said people shouldn’t be critical about all the money being spent on security for the event.

“That’s not relevant to who is the president as much as it is just the fact that it is the president,” he said. “That’s a precaution that we need to take.”

Campus Republicans President Tom Meyer said he doesn’t see the presidential inauguration as “that big of a deal.”

In fact, he said he sees it as an inevitable conclusion.

“Once you win the election, you are going to get inaugurated,” Meyer said. “It’s more ceremony than anything.”

He said the inauguration would be a bigger deal if the U.S. government weren’t stable at the moment.

“If people get excited about the official swearing-in process, that’s fine,” Meyer said. “But I just can’t get all that excited about it.”