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For those not celebrating George W's second inauguration, the people of Sacramento had at least two parties to go to: A demonstration at the State Capitol organized by Sacramento radio host Christine Craft ( KSQR, Talk City 1240 on your AM dial, the local Air America affiliate), and "The Counter Coronation", at the Federal Building, arranged by a coalition of progressive groups in Sacramento. While both events began with a march from Cesar Chavez Plaza, the Christine Craft event started at 10 a.m. and lasted until around 11:30, while the "Counter Coronation" took place from 3:30 - 6:00 pm. So, theoretically, if you didn't mind working split shifts, you could spend the whole day not celebrating George Bush's inauguration.

Woods and I were able to attend both demonstrations because we had the optimism back in October to imagine that John Kerry might win the Presidency, and thus took two weeks off work in January with the idea that we would visit my brother in Virginia and attend Kerry's inauguration in Washington, D.C. Well, we all know how that went.

As a result, we were free to compare, contrast and appreciate both counter-inaugurals.



The Christine Craft event began with a march from Cesar Chavez Plaza, led by these banner-carrying heralds of the Bush Royal Family (or crime family, as Air America hosts frequently refer to them).



Twins Benjamin and Carter were fussing and crying all day, (according to Michael, their dad), and decided they needed to come out and join a crowd of people who were fussing and crying all day, which brought them to the Counter-Inaugural Event, where they fit right in.


  A crowd of 400 or thereabouts marched to the Capitol. Christine Craft had requested that participants NOT bring signs, but instead carry provided signs designed by a Sacramento artist. While this restriction provided unity of message, it was a little unsettling for an event based ostensibly on freedom of expression in a time of imperiled civil liberties.



How do you draw a crowd to a demonstration? In an earlier day, fliers on telephone poles, newsletters, and word of mouth conveyed the message. The internet played a large part in the 2004 election, with internet-based organizations such as moveon.org producing and communicating events.

This particular event was produced and communicated by Christine Craft on Talk City 1240 AM. Who responded to the invitation? The event seemed to draw a different group than one usually sees at Capitol protests, perhaps in part because of the time (who can attend an event at 10 a.m. on a workday?), but maybe because Christine has reached a wider audience through her radio program. In any case, the addition of new faces is very welcome, and hats off to Christine and Air America network and affiliates for stepping into the talk-show vacuum with their progressive views.

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