I booed Bush. I stood on the Mall on Inauguration Day in a crowd of two million people and, without a moment's hesitation, booed the forty third president of the United States. That was a first for me.
I was taught that booing was rude, or as Chris Matthews said, "bad form." And I thought:
Bad form is sending young men and women to die in a war built on a lie;
Bad form is torturing people in secret camps;
Bad form is abandoning the people of New Orleans;
Bad form is holding yourself above the law, trashing our freedoms, our environment, our reputation...
Miss Manners says you cannot permit a bravo for an operatic performance without also permitting a boo. Can we extrapolate to politicians on state occasions? Chris Matthews, a man whose tongue has never known restraint, thinks not. Others hope that their booing will be followed by an indictment. I can only tell you that booing felt good and absolutely correct. I felt that we were telling the soon to be ex president exactly what we thought of his actions and policies that have wreaked havoc on our country.
Like probably everybody else standing there on the Mall, I was taught to have respect for the office of the presidency, but I felt no conflict. President Bush himself was our model: he disrespected the office, he disrespected his constituency.
Other than in a voting booth, citizens rarely have any opportunity to tell our leaders directly what we really think. For once, two million of us had an opportunity to tell George W. Bush exactly what we felt about his abuse of power. We the people were telling him. We the people were saying, We censure you. We repudiate you. I never felt more American.
I booed Bush, and I booed Cheney too. Shame on them both.
And then, we the people moved on to a new hopeful day.