Why You Should Bother Going to the Inauguration

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capitol.jpgOn Thursday, Barack Obama was certified by Congress as the 44th President of the United States of America.

This is a tremendous deal, a fucking gigantic deal!  When was the last time you can name that an outgoing President had been so illegitimate, so inept, and so harmful?  And when was the last time that we had a President who managed to win the majority of voters without winning white males?  When was the last time that an election was won by such a large number of small donors or with such tremendous grassroots campaigning and support?  I'm not even talking about the fact that the man elected is half black!  It would still be historic even if he was white for all the reasons I listed above among several other factors.  In short -- what we witnessed and were a part of has NEVER happened before in the history of America.  In fact I don't think there's been a time in recorded history that a black man has ever been elected to run the free world.

Anyway, it just got me all fired up to get out there to witness in person something that will only happen once in human history!

I've talked to several people here in New York who I knew were "down" with the whole Democrat thing and have said they wouldn't want to attend the Inauguration.  It's going to be expensive they said, and uncomfortable, and crowded.  "He'll get Inaugurated whether you're there or not, you know."  One of my co-workers said he wanted to go, but that he couldn't get out of work.  Well guess what motherfucker?  I quit my job (in part) because I wanted to go and they wouldn't have given me the time off.  They said I was being rash, and I guess they're right, but I can't think of anything more important to me personally than going.  mile_high.jpgI think about the Democratic National Convention in Denver and at the time I worried that I had made a mistake in not being there in my own hometown for such a proud occasion.  I mean it happened all the same, and I didn't lose my job for going so I made a rational choice in the end.  Yet after talking to my friend Carmen, who went to the Convention and saw Obama's speech at Mile High Stadium in October, and seeing the look on her face when she described the Convention as "magical" was enough to confirm my fear that I had missed that magical time and there was nothing to do about it.

Speaking of magic, lets take one step back from the political aspect of it and talk for a moment about the sheer immensity of what is about to happen in our nation's capital.  Predictions of 2 to 4 MILLION attending put the crowd at somewhere between one-and-a-half to twice the size of the population of that city.  Again, can you even imagine what that will be like?  I can't.  It will be a truly unparalleled event in the history of Washington DC and again it's something you can watch on TV or experience yourself.

I realize that not everyone is as nutty about it as I am, but let me defend myself and tell you that my fervor is not just for Barack Obama.  He seems like he'll do a good job and I'm happy to see a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress and all.  I'm excited because I think this election cycle we took the first step toward reclaiming our country from the tide of a Conservative movement that's been eroding the bedrock principals of our democracy for longer than I've been alive.  Religious zealots and corporate CEO's had been working hand-in-hand for decades to see the alignment of power that came about under GW Bush's two terms.  CEO's managed to completely run all over the constitution (FISA).  The zealot's reward: two Supreme Court Justices.  And while I realize that Obama isn't going to single-handedly deliver on every single promise he made during the election he will be a step in the right direction.  His election was a testament to the power we have and have only recently awoken to through the internet and our own sense of guilt over 2004.  We weren't cowed into believing that he couldn't beat Hillary's machine. We weren't fooled into fearing his pastor and we didn't fall for the story about his Islamic-Terrorist background.  It's the first time I've ever campaigned for anything and the first time I've donated any real money toward a candidate or a cause.  We literally willed him to win with our dollars and our time and that's why this is historic for me.  It's the first time people my age have really taken the reigns and put a President in office.  We fucking did that! That's the reason I feel so compelled to be at the Inauguration.

Anyway, I won't twist your arm too much more about it, because I know some of you are already on board.  I have a few questions for the rest of you, and pardon the cliche, but twenty (or forty or sixty) years from now what do you want to have remembered about this moment in history?  How you stuck around and watched a repeat of it on CNN that evening after getting home from a day of work that will inevitably blend into all the other days of work you will work in your life?  Will your bank account be noticeably drained of money in twenty years from the time and money you "wasted" in attending?  It's not like you can go back and do it differently in twenty years.  This is it.

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