Few surveyed watch inauguration, offer opinions

Published 6:00 am Friday, January 21, 2005

Whether from apathy or campaign fatigue, few around Brookhavenappeared interested in President Bush’s inauguration Thursday.

In a random survey of approximately 20 people at three locationsin Brookhaven, most said they neither saw the inaugurationaladdress at 11 a.m. Thursday nor expressed many expectations for thenext four years.

The response comes in an area that overwhelmingly supportedBush’s re-election in November.

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Despite Bush’s wide margin of victory in Lincoln County,landslide vote, few said they expected his second term to be muchdifferent from his first.

“It doesn’t matter what he does. I stopped worrying about it,”one older resident said. “They’re going to do what they want to do.One person can’t make a difference.”

She did, however, offer one thing she would like to see Bushaccomplish soon.

“I do wish he would bring our (military) boys home. They’regetting killed over there for nothing,” she said.

Like all the others surveyed Thursday afternoon, she would notagree to be identified.

In his inaugural address, Bush said America would never be safewithout expanding freedom overseas but never specifically mentionedthe war in Iraq.

“We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion,”Bush said. “The survival of liberty in our land increasinglydepends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope forpeace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all theworld.”

Others said the long, brutal campaign left them weary ofpolitics.

“I’m just tired of the whole thing right now,” one young mansaid. “I’d rather not talk about it.”

The midday scheduling of the speech may have kept many fromwatching it, District Three Supervisor Nolan Earl Williamsonsaid.

“I didn’t get to see it. I was tied up (on county business),” hesaid. “I generally watch stuff like that.”

District Two Supervisor Bobby J. Watts agreed.

“I didn’t get to see it, and I missed the news last night so Ihaven’t heard what was said,” he said.

Watts said some residents may have boycotted the broadcast inprotest of the expense of the inaugural ceremonies.

“From what I hear, people were a bit angry because of theexpense of the inauguration,” he said. “It cost a lot of money weprobably didn’t need to spend with the cost of the war in Iraq andthe deficit.”

The inauguration ceremonies reportedly cost approximately $40million, although much of that was covered by privatedonations.

Watts added that many Mississippi residents probably affordedthe president the same courtesy he showed the state during thecampaign. Presidents don’t generally spend much time campaigning inMississippi, he said.

“I would like to see a president spend more time here when theycome,” he said. “I hope some day we have a president that puts moreemphasis on the United States than they do abroad.”

District One Supervisor the Rev. Jerry Wilson said he didn’t getto watch all of the speech, but he did see some of it.

“It was all right. It’ll do,” he said without anyelaboration.

Wilson said he didn’t have a theory why more people here didn’twatch the telecast.

District Five Supervisor Gary Walker said he expected manypeople missed the speech because they were at work during thetelecast, and the news media only showed short clips of selectedportions of the speech later that night.

“I saw some of it on the news, but I didn’t really see much ofit,” he said.

Many of the residents addressed Thursday afternoon also claimedthey didn’t have enough knowledge to comment on Bush’s proposedchanges to Social Security and taxes, two of the issues he expectsto reform during the next four years.