It’s pretty special living in DC during an election and an inauguration. Particularly when a really terrific man is reelected President.
Last night I went downtown with a friend. We walked around a bit before and after seeing a movie. (Argo. Fantastic. Way to go, Ben Affleck.) The streets were buzzing with politicos young and old. Some were in ball gowns, some were bar hopping, all were in total inaugural bliss. (Except for maybe the crazed group of protesters dressed all in black holding two large, obscene signs and screaming their way down 7th Street at 11:30 pm. But I suppose they were in their own kind of inaugural bliss.)
ANYWAY. There were close to a million people here this weekend and while the traffic has never been worse, the celebrations have never been better.
I woke up early this morning, watched Matt Lauer broadcast from Capitol Hill while I drank my coffee, then put on my red lipstick and my warmest clothes and walked down to the National Mall.
It was a mad house. (In the best way possible.) People of every age, race, class, and gender were there to celebrate our President and our country. It was a very unifying, equalizing spirit among an exciting and diverse crowd.
Now I have to take a minute or so and air my only criticism of the day: crowd control. When a million people are expected at an event of this scale, you hope for some semblance of an efficient admission tack. But you are sorely disappointed when you stand for THREE HOURS barely moving as they let SIX PEOPLE in at a time, checking each person’s electronic devices and bags before inviting them one at a time to move through metal detectors. It was a little outrageous. We didn’t make it through the security check-point in time for the speech so we watched it on people’s cell phones and iPads in the crowd. We could hear echoes of Obama and Beyonce and the cheering crowd, so it still felt real, but I was bummed that security was such a nightmare. (However, I stopped feeling sorry for myself after talking to some people next to me who had driven ten hours to get there and had been in line since 6 am.)
After finally being checked and inspected and detected and admitted, I walked through the mall toward the Capitol Building. The city looked so beautiful. All the buildings were decked with flags and signs of support for President Obama. People had donned their pins and hats and all kinds of Obamapparel. It felt big and exciting. I started scouting out a good spot along Pennsylvania Ave for the the parade.
I found a place and stood with a retired elementary school teacher from the Bronx, a mother and her 7-year-old daughter from North Carolina, and a young guy and girl from New Zealand who were in DC for an internship. Everyone was buzzing and a little exhausted, but happy.
When the parade began and they announced President and Mrs. Obama, the crowd went wild. (I posted a video below.) It was sort of surreal watching the motorcade go by. It was a very historical and significant feeling. I was so grateful to be there.
Tonight when I re-watched his speech at home, I felt incredibly proud to be where I am right now. Proud and lucky. And energized and enthusiastic and ready for four more years.