Want to send President Bush a message during his inauguration? You can turn your back. That’s right. Simple. No signs needed.

Thousands are organizing to line the parade route in Washington, D.C., after Bush is sworn in and plan to simply turn their back on him.

The action’s web site, www.turnyourbackonbush.org, calls on the 56 million who voted against Bush to keep up the fight.

“The election is over. The fight is not. Elections are only one part of democracy. We need to think strategically about direct action, learn from a rich history of nonviolent activism, and develop new tactics to take on this administration.”

Calling the initiative a catalyst, the organizers call for the fight to start on Inauguration Day. On Jan. 20, “we’re calling for a new kind of action. The Bush administration has been successful at keeping protesters away from major events in the last few years by closing off areas around events and using questionable legal strategies to outlaw public dissent. We can use these obstacles to develop new tactics. On Inauguration Day, we don’t need banners, we don’t need signs, we just need people.”

The Rev. Graylan Hagler, pastor of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington and a co-founder of United for Peace and Justice, said the protests on Inauguration Day and after carry the message that democracy needs to be protected by standing up and raising your voice. “Our democracy has been deeply eroded. We have a responsibility to question and resist the powers that be and stand up for an agenda that liberates and does not enslave.”

When asked about the prospects for peace and bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq, Hagler said, as a person of faith he knows that “arrogance has a tendency to overreach, which starts its undoing.”

“It’s possible to bring the troops home,” he said. But we have to turn our back on Bush, rally, question, analyze, resist and hold this country accountable, he said. “That’s patriotism.”

Hagler will be one of a number of peace and justice leaders speaking at the Jan. 21 “United We Stand” rally and cultural festival. Actress and comedian Rosie O’ Donnell will headline the event at Plymouth Congregational Church, 5301 North Capital St. NE, Washington, D.C., Friday, 7 p.m.-10 p.m.

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