Parkites plan to protest president
Bruce Hough paid $500 to dine with President George W. Bush next week during Bush’s upcoming trip to Utah.
Paul Kirwin did not.
Instead Kirwin intends to join demonstrators planning to protest the Bush administration.
The plans by the two men show the split in the Park City area between the president’s supporters and those who dislike the commander in chief, who easily captured Utah during his two White House campaigns but did not have such strong showings in Park City.
Parkites, particularly those who dislike the president, plan to join a series of demonstrations in the Salt Lake Valley during Bush’s trip, scheduled to coincide with the American Legion’s annual convention, in Salt Lake City.
But Hough, the No. 2 person in the Summit County Republican Party, paid to be at an event for Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, which Bush is scheduled to attend, and says he expects that Salt Lake will give the president a warm reception.
Hough hopes the president makes strong remarks in support of the war on terrorism and securing America’s borders.
"We’re showing respect for the position, even if we disagree with the person," Hough says, describing what he sees as the opinions of everyday Utahns and saying Bush’s visit is "terrific."
Kirwin says he expects to march in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, when an anti-Bush demonstration is planned.
"This is a really good chance to take action, because Salt Lake City is known as a bastion of Republicans," Kirwin, who claims he was a Republican until the mid-1990s, says. "It’s gonna feel great."
He wants the national media following the president to cover the demonstrations.
"I hope that we have five to 10,000 protesters down there," Kirwin says.
Notable anti-Bush Parkites plan to demonstrate as well, including Diane Mellen and Rich Wyman, a musician who has organized anti-war rallies in Park City.
Mellen is displeased with the Iraqi war, saying it has become a "horrible, bloody civil war."
"I am totally, 100 percent backing our troops but I am not backing this war," Mellen says, charging that Bush and others in his administration are responsible. "I think it’s clearly much more than the president."
She criticizes the administration on a variety of issues, such as the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, oil prices, taxes and job losses. Mellen plans to carry a ‘Bush lied, thousands died’ banner.
"He knows what’s happening in Iraq. I believe he knows there is a bloody civil war there," Mellen says.
Wyman, a piano player and singer, says he plans to perform protest songs that he wrote in the last year, called "Tell Me It’s Over" and "World of Peace." He hopes the demonstrators offer an "optimistic vision" and "one completely different than the administration."
"The main thing is to have a powerful rally so people can come together and lift our spirits," Wyman says.
Meanwhile, Philip Lippincott, a Bush supporter who lives in Deer Crest, says it is smart that Bush is "out speaking directly to the public."
"I think clearly he wants to be more geographically dispersed, where he’s seen, where he’s heard," Lippincott, who will be out of town during the visit, says, adding, "I think it’s important to be truthful — we’re in a period that’s going to be a difficult period."
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