Bush In Denver, With Malcontents

As President Bush visited Denver last Friday, hundreds of protesters lined the street and voiced their opposition. And, while their reasons were different, there was a general consensus to one thing: the President has failed.

“It definitely concerns me, and I definitely worry about what kind of life we’re leaving for him,” said Denver resident Christine Sheridan, when speaking about her young son sitting beside her. “That’s part of why it’s important for us to be here today.”The President traveled to Cherry Hills Village while in Colorado, an exclusive suburb in south Denver with the highest income levels in the state. While there, Bush attended a $1,000-a-plate dinner in the city to fundraise for congressional candidate Rick O’Donnell.

By 11:00 a.m., approximately 200 protesters had gathered at the First Universalist Church, near the intersections of Hampden and University. There were more people down the streets closer to the intersection, holding signs and getting honks every few minutes.

“We’re doing a dollar plate lunch. Our message is in a free democracy-the democracy really belongs to the dollar-a-plate people-democracy really doesn’t belong to the thousand-dollar-a-plate people,” said Dick Barkey, Executive Director of Be The Change, a liberal advocacy group. “They don’t own anymore of it than we do.”

The main speaker at the event was Congresswoman Dianna DeGette, who spoke on her stem cell research bill that the President recently vetoed.

“George Bush exercised the first veto in over 1,100 bills that have crossed his desk to deny hope to 110 million Americans and their families,” DeGette said to the crowd, while supporters stood behind her on a pavilion. “The best research could unlock the key to cures for Parkinson’s, diabetes, nerve damages, and diseases that affect so many Americans.”

DeGette then called attention to Reagan Lenten, a family friend who had been paralyzed in a car accident. Stem cell research, DeGette said, could help people like Lenten.

Speakers at the church event included all three Democratic candidates in the congressional district seven race, as well as Bill Winter, a candidate in the sixth congressional district.

“I got another thirty years too, so I’m worried about where I’m going to be when I retire,” said Sheridan. “What is that going to be for me? What are we going to be like as grandparents? Is [my son] going to be forced to support us when we get sick because there’s no health coverage?”

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.