The Inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama – A Political Odyssey January 21, 2009Posted by Robert in inauguration, Music, Not Political, Politics, Travel.
Tags: Barack, Barack Obama, inauguration, Joe Biden, Maryland, Metro DC, Michelle Obama, National Mall, Obama, Rick Warren, US Capital, Washington DC
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We woke well before dawn, determined to be on one of the first metro trains out of Silver Spring station. Our plan was to get to the National Mall before 5am so that we could have great placement for the swearing in ceremony of our 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama. We were on a mission, one we were determined to complete no matter what stood in our way. And between the trains, people, gates, police, automobiles and the bitter cold, it was clear very early in the day that this wasn’t going to be a walk in a national park.
The snags started almost as soon as our train pulled out of the station. Our operator came over the PA system and pleaded with us to make sure that we didn’t block any of the doors on the DC Metro as the doors do not operate like elevator doors. That is, they do not re-open completely if something gets in their way while closing. They just open back up a tiny bit and then close again. If someone repeatedly stops them from closing, the train has to be completely shut down and all passengers have to be off loaded and get on the next train. Our operator informed us that the train directly before ours had to be off loaded because there were to many people holding the doors. After a few minutes stopped on the tracks, he came back on and said that another train in front of us had to be off loaded as well, and we were going to be receiving all the passengers from both these trains.
You can probably guess what happened next. When we arrived at our next stop, not one person got off. Instead about 3 times as many people as were already on the train attempted to board. We were quickly filled to capacity but more still attempted to enter and proceeded to, you guessed it, block the doors. This was the first time I realized that these strangers around us might actually be capable of getting a bit violent. When the people who were blocking the doors refused to get off and wait till the next train, a few people shouted at them angrily. One man said “If this train get shut down, i’m gonna knock you the (expletive deleted) out!”
Gladly, the doors did eventually close and the train began moving. We arrived in DC a few minutes later, greeted by the most crowded station i’ve ever seen at 5 in the morning. We made it through the throngs of people and up to the surface, greeted by the beautiful site of the Capital Building.
It never even seemed like we made a conscious decisions as to which side of the capital to walk. We just went to the right. I now realize that the day could have turned out completely differently if we had chosen the other path. In choosing the north side of The Mall as our entrance, we were told by several different police officers that they wouldn’t be opening the gates into the mall until 7am. We fount a large crowd of people waiting to walk through the tunnel onto the National Mall at 3rd and Indiana.
So there we waited, convinced that we were in the perfect spot to get on the mall in a good spot. Boy were we mistaken. After 7am rolled around and nothing happened, people started getting antsy. We should have been suspicious when we couldn’t get onto The Mall as soon as we arrived. Everything we read from the official inauguration webpages said that the mall was open at 4am.
We stayed at that entrance until about 7:45, when we were told that they were going to begin letting people in 50 at a time. By then there had to have been a crowd of at least 10,000 people and that might be a gross under-estimate. After doing the math and getting almost trampled by people trying to leave the giant group of people, we decided to adjust our strategy and make our way to the south side of the National Mall.
It was a long walk around The Capital made longer by the fact that so many streets were closed to pedestrian traffic. Then began the pattern of being told by the police that the entrance was only a few blocks away. First it was 4th and Independence, then 7th, then 10th, then 12th. When we got to 14th and Independence things got very tight. It’s a very unnerving feeling to be on a public street that would under normal circumstances be completely open and airy and have that street become so crowded with humanity that you can only move by shuffling your feet. Couple that with the collective desire of the entire crowd being only to get to a place where they can truly feel like they would bear witness to this historic event. People were getting frustrated because the lack of information coming from those in uniform was surprising. They began hoping over the barriers to the National Mall. Some guards tried to stop them, but when there are thousands of people trying to get somewhere, there’s little you can do without coming off as overbearing. It was clear that Washington DC wanted to present an atmosphere of tight security that didn’t cross-over into something resembling marital law.
The streets became so engorged with humanity that for a second I wondered if all this trouble was worth it if we were never even going to make it into The Mall. That’s when the crowds finally opened up and we were for the first time all day, able to see people actually being able to enter The Mall freely. People were literally running out of the crowded streets toward the Washington Monument. It was a moving and surreal sight.
We entered the mall over 5 hours after we had set foot in DC and immediately walked to the base of the Washington Monument. We hung around there for a bit taking photos and marveling at the sheer number of people gathered. It became clear that we weren’t going to get a great view of any of the large screens that had been set up, so we decided to move a little further towards the front of the World War 2 Memorial. There we stayed for the length of the inauguration ceremony.
Many moments of the swearing in were particularly moving or memorable for me.
Any time that Barack, Michelle or either of their girls were shown on screen, the crowd would go wild.
When President Bush was mentioned or shown on the screens, the crowd would break into choruses of “Nah Nah Nah Nah. Nah Nah Nah Nah. Hey Hey Hey. Goodbye!” or “Hit The Road Jack.” Perhaps a tad juvenile yes, but still an incredible thing to witness.
Rick Warren’s invocation was heartfelt and moving in my opinion. I was very curious to how the crowd would receive him as the decision to have him deliver the blessing was not met with overwhelming approval especially from the homosexual community. But the crowd seemed cordial if not genuinely appreciative of his blessing.
But the main event did not disappoint. President Obama’s oath of office was short, sweet and very moving. Even if the secretary choose not to read the oath but recite if from memory. The president paused several times because the secretary was incorrectly reciting the oath for him to repeat. But it felt like a touch of imperfect humanity, something that has permeated throughout this campaign, thankfully. It’s nice to know that for a town that likes to take itself so seriously, events can still show their beautiful imperfections.
Obama’s speech came in at about 18 minutes. It was very well received with the crowd, especially the parts about not sacrificing civil liberties for temporary safety or our standing as a world leader for I’m paraphrasing of course, but it was all in there and it was nice to hear the words coming out the mouth of the president for once and not just those whom some would label as defeatist or apologist. It really seemed like our leader’s ideals were in line with our own. At least it did for myself and those around me in The National Mall today.
What do Jeremiah Wright and Voldemort Have In Common? October 30, 2008Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics.
Tags: Barack Obama, elections, Jeremiah Wright, John McCain, McCain, Obama
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Apparantly both cannot be named. Watch this guy squirm.
Grow a pair, McCain surrogate.
McCain Campaign Muzzles Muslim McCain Supporter October 21, 2008Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics.
Tags: Barack Obama, Biden, Campaign Rally, Daniel Zubairi, elections, Islam, Joe Biden, John McCain, McCain, Muslim, Obama, Palin, Racism, Sarah Palin, Vote
Meet Daniel Zubairi, a grassroots organizer for the McCain/Palin Campaign. Above you’ll see Daniel bravely speak out against the hatred being spewed by one of a bunch of bad apples that have been making the McCain rallies sound a lot like some other rallies that you can find in old news reels.
Daniel confronts 2 people that are handing out stickers and spewing lies about Barack Obama being connected to radical Islam and Communism. As an Muslim and a McCain campaign organizer, Daniel really sticks it to them and says in no uncertain terms that they do not represent the views of the campaign and the campaign does not condone their actions.
Wonderful! This is just the kind of straight-talk that I would expect from the McCain campaign. The only problem is, the campaign is not allowing Daniel to speak to the press.
Wow. Just when they get a chance to allow an official representative of the campaign to speak out against hatred, fear and lies as a campaign tactic, they muzzle him.
I thought McCain said he was proud of the people at his rallies? I agree that it’s foolish to judge a candidate based on the lowest of his supporters. I’m sure that Obama has radical Islamic supporters just like McCain has White Supremacist supporters. But I’m positive that if the press wanted to interview an official member of the Obama campaign that confronted a group of radical Islamics at an Obama rally, they would be allowed. Why is the McCain campaign extending it’s theme of press black-outs? It hasn’t worked with Sarah Palin, and it’s certainly not going to work with a like-able character like Daniel.
Let Daniel Speak!
Debate #3 – A good day to be a plumber. October 16, 2008Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics, Television.
Tags: Barack Obama, Joe, Joe Biden, Joe The Plumber, John McCain, Obama, Palin, Plumbers, Presidential Debates, Presidential Elections, Sarah Palin, Taxes
Well, the third and last Presidential Debate has come and gone. Only 20 short days till Americans across the country will file into tiny closets with curtains and little switches and decide the fate of the free world. We’re in the most trying economic time in our country since men with curly mustaches were jumping out of windows in the thirties. We continue to lose lives of our finest and bravest citizens in deserts half a world away. Osama Bin Laden is still breathing. We can’t seem to figure out how to provide fair and comprehensive healthcare to all our citizens.
But what subject seemed to be on the minds of the 2 candidates more than any other during the debates tonight?
That’s right. Joe is f’ng famous for asking Barack Obama about his tax policy about a week ago. He is now a household name. Well, a household first name and then a profession. But you really have to give it to Barack. Maybe Joe is not voting for him still, but Barack took 5 minutes and answered his question in a clear, concise manner that did not pander to him or insult his intelligence.
Here is a short impression of Joe when he first heard his name mentioned tonight.
Joe was mentioned by John McCain no less than 24 times and by Barack Obama 4 times. I really hope that’s enough. Because I really can’t make a decision about a candidates position until the 34th or 35th time they run something into the ground.
If you want to score this debate, I’d call it a clean sweep by Obama. Sure McCain got in a really good line about Barack tying him to Bush. Even I gave him style points when he said “If you wanted to run against Bush you should have ran 4 years ago”. But still, Obama remained his calm, cool and collected self. McCain still looked creepy when he smiled or laughed. And frankly Obama won the I look and act presidential contest.
Again, both candidates performances I’m sure really sat well with their bases. But the independents are simply not going to go for a guy they don’t want to look at for the next 4-8 years. It’s sad, but true. No matter what their stance on the issues, Barack looks like a president and John looks like that uncle you avoid at parties.
John McCain is old and blah blah blah… and HOLY CRAP THE PHILLIES ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!!!!! October 16, 2008Posted by Robert in Not Political.
Tags: Barack Obama, John McCain, LA, LA Dodgers, McCain, Obama, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies, World Series
For the first time in 15 years the Phildadelphia Phillies are going to the World Series. Those who know me, know that I gave my heart to the Yankees sometime in college after meeting a large man with a big forhead. But I’ve never stopped loving the Phils and I am absolutely beside myself with happiness that they’re going to the Fall Classic.
My only worry is that Mitch Williams will find a way to ruin this again.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. God-damn Mitch Williams.
The Exact Moment That Decided This Election October 8, 2008Posted by Robert in Election 08, Humor, Politics, Television.
Tags: Barack Obama, Biden, Debate, Democrats, Healthcare, Iraq, Joe Biden, John McCain, McCain, Obama, Palin, Presidential Debate, Republicans, Sarah Palin, That One
There have been many gaffes during this campaign. Both Republicans and Democrats have put their feet in their collective mouths more times than one blog can cover.
But McCain managed, in 3 short seconds, to (at least in my humble estimation) loose his last remaining chance at winning this election and the last remaining shred of respect that I had for him.
Here’s what he did.
Oh. My. Rude. Senator.
I really can’t think of a time where I’ve had such an appalled reaction while watching television. Well, maybe season 2 of HEROES. But my wife, myself and I’m sure a great many American’s all shared a collective “WTF” moment when the Arizona senator referred to his opponent as “That One”.
I mean good Lord. Barack Obama has a title, sir. It is “Senator”. Just like yours is. You could have probably gotten away with “my opponent”, “Barack” or even “Barack-man Turner Overdrive”. But “That One”? Hell ta’ tha’ no.
I will now offer at no charge a retort for Senator Obama to use during the 3rd and final debate.
Who was it that voted with the Bush Administration over 90% of the time? Who was having cake with Bush while people drowned en masse in the wake of Katrina? Who can’t smile without it looking really, really creepy? You may not be able to guess, but it’s “Gramps” over there.
Use it in good health, Senator Obama and feel free to thank me later after your inauguration.