Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Driving into surreal history: The inauguration of Donald J. Trump

Danny Doherty Features Editor My junior license permits me to drive when the sun comes up. But on this day, taking to the roads at two in the morning was the least essential necessity that needed to be completed. For months, I had anticipated the day when someone I felt hopeful for, dedicated my time towards, and had some similar ideals to me would take the oath of office. Before the election, in the first brisk days of November, I wrote up an email to the (former) Congressman Fitzpatrick, requesting tickets to the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. No matter the outcome of the race, taking in such an historic day would be something I could not seize to miss out on. Rather than responding promptly to my email, his office promptly returned my message by phone, several times, over several days, all while I was at school. I will not skip out on school to listen to an outgoing Congressman’s staff tell me that I will be placed in a lottery for ticketing. So that is what happened. For two months I patiently awaited an email or phone call, eventually hearing good news that my brother and I had secured tickets to the event. Finally, just a week away from the 20th of January, that email came. How exciting it all was. The drive to D.C. had taken my family about four hours the previous time we trekked down, but to our luck (and speedy mindset) it took only two and a half hours to get down, all while picking up some free Dunkin Donuts thanks to being early birds. We pulled into our reserved parking that we had booked days before, about two miles outside of the Capitol. Walking around the nation’s centerpiece at five in the morning, with roads mellow and quiet, creates somewhat of a nostalgic feeling. This escalates when you take into account that most roads are blocked off, and military is patrolling every corner of every street. Wherever you lean on the sphere of politics, a genuine, good-natured sense of hope is uncanny and cannot be matched. Two miles later, our majestic feeling of getting there seven hours before the Donald was sworn in went sour, as thousands were already crowded around the entrance. Surprisingly, security for such a large event was swift and harmless, the crowd was pleasant, and protesters did not come in till later on. We took our places behind the Capitol water feature and packed tight for the next few hours. That hopeful feeling stayed strong within the fenced off area, but outside protests began. “No more entry in, the inauguration is cancelled,” yelled protesters, some physically beating down women specifically blocking off admittance into the event. This only lasted minutes, as the thousands of patrolmen got a few of their best to break it up and arrest violators of the peaceful protest. When the day really kicked off around 10 a.m., the mood was as vibrant as I have ever seen an event. The speeches got old fast, but once prominent men and women of government began to come out to the procession and get announced over the loudspeaker, emotions came out. To just about everyone’s delight, crowds roared for Obama, and nearly every Democratic politician (of course some Republican ones as well). Hillary Clinton, and pretty much only Hillary Clinton, received the largest collective boo I have ever taken part in. Trump closed the day with an uplifting speech, and Jackie Evancho bolted out the best rendition of the Anthem I have ever heard. Overall, the day ran incredibly smoothly and was something I will never forget.

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