Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Insanity from Wash. D.C.

A line of people stretched many city blocks before sunrise this morning to witness the inauguration of our 44th President of the United States in Wash. D.C. Hours later the same inauguration-bound crowd fought their way to the National Mall-past street vendors and into the sea of those struggling to do the same.

In one case, a particular individual had been waiting since 10 p.m. last night and early this morning finally abandoned hope of getting in, turning around in disbelief and shock with the massive amount of people on 4th street at 6:00 a.m. But we eventually resolved to put an end to the crowd fighting when stopping near the front of the Smithsonian, just a block in front of the Washington Monument.

The crowds weren’t a surprise to me. And neither was the hype, nor the intensity with which each person stood with their eyes glued on either the capitol building or giant televisions placed throughout the Mall. It was unlike anything I’d ever witnessed before. After all, this was what many referred to as “a historical event-“ the inauguration of the first African-American president will never happen again.

There was some surprise to the whole adventure, however. One would think that a city like Wash. D.C., that has now hosted dozens of inaugurations, would have a process established. Not the case. I moved like a sardine for most of the morning, listening to another classmate express how he felt we were treated as refugees-no place to go, nothing to eat, and jam-packed into a city far too small for the amount trying to maneuver within it.

Trash was overflowing, filled with pamphlets and advertising, and the streets were littered with the name “Obama.” Police on 3rd street provided conflicting information with those who yelled to the mob on 18th. There wasn’t nearly sufficient food to feed the millions, and Porta Potties…well, yuck! It was temporary insanity.

I learned yet another thing today. For the same reasons that many of my journalism friends disagree with the concept of advertising, I disagree with politics-at least, in the way they were presented today. The hype just doesn’t work-it’s not my thing, it’s not truth, it’s not genuine, and tends to be a show. I respect what politicians do, who they are, and the way they choose to live their lives (at least, most politicians), but I have an issue with the fake way they present themselves to the public. It’s just not something I’d like to have my hand in.

Cross-posted at http://danikabrittany.blogspot.com/

-Danika Heatherly

1 comment:

  1. You are right in saying the planning for the event was slipshod at best. The direction was inconsistent, poorly posted and distributed neither visually or audibly and crowds were far too large for the infrastructure the city set up, despite pre-inauguration estimates in the multiple millions.

    On the politics note, I disagree. While 24-hour news and online coverage has changed the way politics, and hence political scandals, are covered, I think President Barack Obama has the best chance to break this chain of stagnant action. Despite the fanfare and the hype, I think Obama has the ability to deliver the goods for our nation. Whether that hype will come to a head has yet to be seen, but I have faith Obama will work closely in the domestic and global scene to get the wheels turning for the economy again soon.



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