I was informed earlier this week that the IPJ program (and all of TFAS) had been invited by the White House to attend a rally for Social Security reform in Maryland. As I have never seen any president in person, I leaped at the opportunity.
led a script reading led a panel discussion about Social Security and why it is going to be bankrupt by 2041. Ben Stein, a financial consultant, and two college-age Republicans completed the panel. I did not find the discussion itself that interesting, though I did find humor in Bush thanking FDR for implementing the Social Security program in the first place and his claim that the people should be able to trust the government.
What I did find interesting, though, is that a group of 300+ interns from across the nation (some supporters of Bush, some not) were invited to a rally in Maryland. Our group was only a portion of the interns present. I've heard as many as 500 were invited.
To get into the event, you had to have been invited by the White House. Once inside, if a person made any vocal disagreement with the President or his plans, the dissenter would be removed, or so we were warned. "While I know some of you may disagree with his policies, this is not the time to express that disagreement," our director said (paraphrased from memory). "They will remove you."
Clapping and other signs of support were supported, of course.
There were a number of protesters outside of the rally location, naturally. After discovering that a significant portion of the audience was not from the area, I felt as if I should have been with them.
Does anyone see anything wrong with this method? The White House invites those who would already support almost anything he wants to a rally supposedly designed to raise support for a controversial issue. The local people with real questions are left outside to protest as interns from across the country are invited into the rally because the interns are part of a certain organization.
There is no interaction with the people. Bush is only receiving confirmation from those that already agree with him, and anyone who may not agree is threatened to be removed if he or she expresses disagreement.
It is all quite. . .disconcerting.
On the plus side, I was able to take photos of President Bush. I really like one of them.Posted by Randy at June 23, 2005 08:46 PM | TrackBack