Students, community members oppose Social Security reforms
An estimated 400 protesters rallied near the Blair property during a conference held by President George W. Bush to voice their opposition to his proposed plan to reform Social Security. The event was organized by the liberal political organization Progressive Maryland.
Demonstrators gathered at the nearby Woodmoor shopping center, where Tom Hucker, the Executive Director of Progressive Maryland, gave a speech thanking the assembled crowd. In his speech, Hucker called Bush the "worst president in American history." The group marched to the yellow tape perimeter set up around the school at approximately 8:45 a.m., and continued to demonstrate throughout the morning.
Ignoring police behests to "stay on the sidewalk," the protesters soon spilled onto University Boulevard and began to march up and down the street, prompting the closure of University's eastbound lanes to accommodate the marchers.
Many Blair students appeared at the rally, eager to voice their concern over the stability of the Social Security program and their opposition to the changes Bush has proposed. Bush's plan would allow future workers to invest a portion of their income in securities. Opponents of the plan say it would put workers' money at risk, leaving some, like senior Nipon Saisaard, to wonder, "When I get old, who's going to take care of me?" Most resented Bush's appearance at their school. Said senior Emma Hutchinson, "I'm here because I think we need to show we don't appreciate Bush trying to push his Republican views on us."
According to John Mahoney, president of the Maryland Association of Young Democrats, admission to Bush's conference was by invitation only and most invitees were not from the Silver Spring area. Mahoney said that representatives of his organization were denied entrance, and wondered, "How you can have a town hall meeting and not invite the town?"
"I think he's a fool. He shouldn't have chosen Blair," Hucker agreed. "We didn't vote for him; we don't want him here." Hucker also resented the use of public funds to provide buses and security for Bush's supporters.
The rally drew diverse support. Aaccording to Hucker, representatives from over 15 local political organizations, including Local 657 of the Laborers' Union, the Maryland chapter of the National Organization for Women and the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop the War and End Racism) coalition were present. Mahoney called the groups in attendance "a profile of the Democratic party's support."
Mahoney welcomed the many students who attended the protest, saying, "It's great all these young people could be out here."
Protest organizers declared the event officially over at 10:10 a.m., but many demonstrators proceeded on to Colesville Road, prompting police to park in a northbound lane until the crowds dissipated at 11.
Alex Hyder. Hyder, as he is affectionately (or, as is often the case, not-so affectionately) known, is thoroughly enthused about his position on SCO. A junior in Blair's Magnet Program, he is too lazy to write a more extensive bio but nonetheless finds the energy to write … More »
Grace Harter. Grace Harter is currently a CAP senior at Blair. She loves anything British, books, music, movies and of course Silver Chips Online. She'd like to close with a quote from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" that is especially profound (and makes reference to her ultimate favorite … More »