George W. Bush Presidential Library Causes a Stir

November 16, 2010  

By Mackenzie O’Hara

Prior to the start of the groundbreaking ceremony for the George W.Bush Presidential Library at SMU Tuesday, anti-war protesters rallied in opposition of the new center.

The protesters met in the DART parking lot off of Mockingbird Lane and marched to the beat of a slow drum across North Central Expressway, eventually stopping just outside Ford Stadium.

Some protesters wore white masks and nametags representing soldiers who died in the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. Others carried signs with varying statements including, “Arrest Bush”, “Library or Lie-Bury”, and “Obama end your silence.”

One of the leaders of the protest, Rich Hancock from Rational Broadcasting said the protest was “all about accountability.” He stressed that protesters were going to be peaceful, but they were angry and distressed because the institution represented policies that had failed, and people have forgotten decisions Bush made while in office.

Among the protesters was Meg Hillert, the mother of two SMU alums, who opposes the institute being at SMU. She does not think the truth will be told, and as a practicing Methodist, she thinks the center shouldn’t exist on SMU’s campus.

Protesters representing the fallen soldiers continued their march down Airline through SMU’s campus past the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports until they were forced to stop by a barricade of Dallas Sheriffs.

SMU students and other visitors trying to watch the ceremony syndicated on the GoVision truck on the lawn of Moody Coliseum were given permission to walk past the wall of police. But protesters were denied access, even after they took off their masks.

The rest of the protesters stopped walking at the corner of Mockingbird and Airline, and lined up in front of the Ford Stadium lawn filled with white crosses. While they displayed their signs to cars driving on Mockingbird they chanted, “torture isn’t right, torture is a sin, hey Mr. Bush turn yourself in.”

The protests concluded with speeches by Dallas radio personality Rick Vanderslice; anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son, Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed during his service in Iraq; Colonel Ann Wright, and other leaders of the protest. Their speeches gave explanations for the march.

“The past is prologue, what happened before will happen again,” said Hancock.

Speakers asked people to enact positive change, and fight for an end to the war.

A small fight broke out in the middle of the speeches between a protester and a Bush supporter on the opposite side of the street. No one was arrested.

The George W. Bush Presidential Library is expected to open to the public in 2013.

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2 Responses to “George W. Bush Presidential Library Causes a Stir”

  1. Bush Blog: Library Critics Say Protests ‘All About Accountability’ : SMU Daily Mustang on November 16th, 2010 2:47 pm

    [...] reporter Mackenzie O’Hara spent all morning tracking the protesters. Here’s her story, which quotes one protester who says the new Bush library and policy institute represents policies [...]

  2. libhomo on November 16th, 2010 9:07 pm

    This library is seriously damaging SMU’s academic reputation.