Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dogs Barked along with the New President.

A last minute surveillance of the perimeter of the area surrounding the Capitol, on the night before the inauguration, convinced me that the only way to assure a good vantage point of Barack Obama taking the oath of office would be to head out at perhaps 3:00 AM and stand in the cold for 8 hours.

Since I do not view Obama as someone I think I would really want to spend more than 20 minutes waiting for in the comfort of an office reception area, waiting with thousands upon thousands of others, for hours, in freezing temperatures in an era when Al Gore tells us the earth is overflowing with heat, was not an option. Since I hadn't had dinner, my fall back position was to grab some soup and a cranberry muffin at the nearby Au Bon Pain at Union Station and then head home.

At Au Bon Pain, I met Tanya, orignally from Minnesota and Gero, originally from Germany. They now live in North Carolina. One thing lead to another, and soon I gave them a complete lecture on the business cycle, Austrian economics, the failure of mainstream economics, FA Hayek's views on the proper methodology of science as he expounded in his great book, The Counter Revolution of Science. At some point, someone had decided to look at a watch, two hours had passed, and they both remarked that the time had flown by. I took that as a compliment.

It was 1:45AM and they were about to head out to find a spot on the mall from which to watch the inauguration. Since they didn't have VIP passes, they had mapped out a well thought out plan. I headed home. Early the next morning, I racked my brain to think of a warm and cozy spot from which to watch the inauguration, a spot with some of the atmosphere of the goings on. Then it hit me, The Mayflower Hotel ---a cozy lobby with televisions and about the only spot from where a Democrat made news during the Bush years. The Mayflower was, of course, where the the one time Democratic Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, screwed a hooker.

And so, with the knowledge that my viewing location was a spot that brought short-term pleasure and long-term disaster to at least one politician, I watched the inauguration in the luxury, splendor, warmth and table service of the Mayflower.

Gregg Levine was not as fortunate. He actually had tickets to the inauguration and thought the power elite were actually out to make things comfortable for him. Hee, hee.

Levine writes on what really happened:

So, I don't even know how to write about this without it sounding like bitter grousing, and frankly, I'm a little embarrassed to have to report that after five hours of standing in the bitter cold, getting pushed and shoved to the point where you start to feel for your safety, and being herded to and fro, the most I can report about the inauguration is that the 21-gun salute is really loud.

So loud, in fact, you can feel it outside the security perimeter. That's right, despite having in hand magic purple tickets, and lining up hours before the gates opened, I saw nothing. I heard, beyond the guns, nothing.

I followed all the signs, I went to the appointed spot. . . and what? There was almost no one who had a clue of what was to happen next...The lines for the Purple Tickets and the lines for the Yellow Tickets crisscrossed at numerous points causing every bit of the road-blocking mayhem you would imagine.

Over the next 90 minutes, I traced a circle with a diameter of no more than 20 feet. We then came to a stop just outside a fence within within full view of the metal detectors and the uniforms that were staffing them.

And, there I stood. I stood next to women from Florida who had saved for months to make this trip. I stood next to a woman separated by the crowd from her husband. I stood next to people who had been standing in that same spot since 5am. . . since, in one case, 3am...

People chanted, "Let us in." People chanted, "We have tickets." People chanted "we are purple," waving their precious 4x6 inch tickets in the air.

And then they just started begging and shouting. Let us in. We have tickets. We've been here for hours. Let us in. And then it was noon. And everything stopped...then I overhear a conversation between people waiting on my side of the fence with a well-insulated security officer on the other side. Those with me were begging to be let in for the speech. The officer said, "I can't tell you anything that will make you feel

And then a wild quiet fell over everyone. It was actually quite amazing to behold then I distanced myself from my disappointment. Small groups gathered around people's phones and radios to listen to the inaugural address. And there they stood and strained. I tried to listen, but I couldn't really hear, so I decided to just keep walking. . . and as I walked, I kept walking by these groups of people listening to the speech. I have a picture of some folks gathered around a police canine car that had its windows open and the radio turned up. Dogs barked along with the new president.

I wonder if the dogs were barking, "You fools!"? There's a lesson to learn here. Don't count on what the power elite promise, whether it's inside access to the inside show, or retirement money for when the gray really starts to grow. You see they have chains and fences and games for you too. They will tell you to go this way then that, stop and go.

Tis' much better finding your own way each and every day. It's the only smart move, you know .


  1. Bob, I didn't know you were also a poet! Nice post!

  2. Why make such efforts to witness such a disastrous event?
    The Gray Communist Cheat is definitely bad news, and this won't even help you know hom much he will steal from you, and how much wealth he will destroy.