Why is a peaceful protest against President Bush and his policies newsworthy? Because the right to participate in a legal, nonviolent protest is fundamental to a vibrant and open democracy. Protest has brought about much-needed social reform and social justice. Protest is often the only way citizens can be heard. Even if protests do not bring about a desired change, at least those protesting are on the record.

What is the alternative? Tiananmen Square, Red Square, Myanmar or North Korea. Would any democratic-minded person really want to live in a place that suppresses, often violently, the protest of its citizens?

I find the Bush administration and its policies abhorrent. While I have not participated in any anti-Bush rallies recently, I fully support those who do. Peaceful protest is a time-honored and effective tool. It in no way shows disrespect to the office of the president or any other institution.

Sara A. Lee