Friday, January 21, 2005


Oh, Alright. . . One Story.

So I knew I had tickets to the Inauguration events at the Capitol.

My buddy Mike has a friend who snagged tickets, and we had plans to go on Thursday. As I mentioned Wednesday, however, the weather went south in a hurry, and I was anticipating a cancellation on Thursday. I mean, really, who wants to go out in the snow and wind?

Well, in the end , I chose to go, and Mike showed up at my house at 7:30 Thursday. A short subway ride later we were downtown, and the day actually was turning out to be pretty nice-- little wind, not too cold, and eventually even the sun came out.

As Mike and I went towards our standing-room only section in front of the Capitol, an Air Force usher told us, "No, you guys are over here, in the seats."


We got what can only be called "boner seats," first ones in the horizontal aisle-- lots of legroom-- directly ahead of the podium (rostrum?), less than a hundred yards out. Absolutely perfect. We waited through the series of musical numbers, hymns, and introductions.

As they were introducing all the key players, I must admit that my thoughts turned to Survivor. Watching the Cheneys walk through the Capitol, for instance, I imagined them all carrying torches to tribal council. Once President Bush arrived, I thought of Jeff Probst, and thought about how cool the video of Bush arriving would be if they showed him taking a helicopter, swimming the Potomac, and cutting through brush with a machete all to get to the podium.

When Cheney walked out, my thoughts turned to the NFL. The Inaugural announcer sounded a lot like the NFL Films announcer, and I thought I heard him say "On the frozen tundra of the National Mall, Dick Cheney walks out to wage battle one more time in this valiant gridiron struggle." Must've been my imagination-- but I swear they were prepping a confetti explosion, and the Imperial March, to usher in the Vice President.

As for other folks, I don't know how much cheering television conveyed, but the crowd reactions were interesting. John Kerry showed up, boos (not a lot, but still not surprising). Carter and Clinton got polite applause. Newt Gingrich got polite applause. The two biggest rounds of applause outside of Bush/Cheney were for Condi (LOTS of cheering), and Jeb Bush (the man simply prevented from even thinking of running in 2008, or even 2012).

Once Bush arrived, lots of applause. Then Rehnquist stepped up to administer the oath. Mike and I joked earlier that the illness-stricken Rehnquist looked a lot like Yoda. We figured that after the oath was finished, he'd just disappear within his gold-striped robes, fading away into the clutches of the Force. Okay, so it didn't happen. . . but it felt like it could have.

Unfortunately, once the oath began, some losers began chanting "Stop the war! Stop the war!" Now, I have no problem with dissent, but I do believe there is a time and place for it. The protesters had plenty of space to protest along the parade march. . . but they didn't belong up front during the ceremony itself.

Alas, after those protesters were shut up, others a few rows in front of Mike and I tried to unfurl a banner against the war. The D.C. Police, rather than arresting them-- or at least ushering them out of the area-- instead just told them to hide their banners.

You can see where this went.

Not ten minutes later, those schmuckheads unfurled their banners again, and started chanting something during the President's speech.

Now, one would imagine that the D.C. Police would have stayed near the protesters, and made sure they behaved themselves, right?

Yeah, sure, uh-huh. Nope, the cops were far away when the banner was revealed a second time, and for a second time the audience had to watch these donut-eaters trot over to the offending section to try to clean house. Smooth move, guys.

What was most interesting at this time were the cheers of the crowd-- every time a protester shouted, the crowd started cheering and clapping in order to drown them out. I can only imagine what President Bush-- let alone the at-home audience-- thought of all that cheering, as it happened at random times of his speech. Poor guy probably thought we were cheering him on when we weren't; we were just trying to shut up the protesters.

Anyways, aside from the few protests, and the cool seats, my general impression of the speech is still somewhat incomplete. I can honestly say I did not hear the whole thing, as Bush was drowned out by the protests at times.

From what I did hear. . . wow. Bush really didn't pull any punches, eh? I'll write more on Friday about the implications of that speech.

In the meantime, there is a warm bed calling my name, and a lot of work at the Pentagon waiting for me.

More Friday!
UPDATE: Sorry about the sloppy writing last night. I cleaned up a few spelling errors ("crutches of the Force"?), and added a few transition words.

Just goes to show, you should never write *anything* at the end of a exhausting day while under the influence of five Maker's Marks.

I promise to do better next time.

This posting was made on my personal computer.

Protesters were that loud? I had no idea. I wonder if the acrimony between municiple DC and Federal DC had anything to do with the slow, half hearted response by the cops to the protesters?

Stinkin donut munchin' fed haters.

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