Sunday, January 18, 2009

To go, or not to go...that is the question.

As inauguration day nears and excitement grows, I am beginning to question whether or not I will come to regret my plans for Jan. 20. As a first-time voter and passionate supporter of President-elect Barack Obama in last year’s election, I feel that I have a real stake in this week’s celebration.
And I'm not the only one who is considering whether or not to brave the cold and the masses.
"Downtown is annoying enough on normal days--enter millions of tourists who aren't acclimated in a city that relies heavily on public tranportation. Right now the cons greatly outweigh the pros," Lucas Woods, a high school teacher and Silver Spring resident, said. "I may regret it sometime down the line, but I'll remember watching it on television warm in my apartment."

But with the city in a state of emergency and an obligation to work, it seems unlikely that I will find myself in a spot along the parade route.
I admit that after spending four years in the heart of the nation’s capitol, the prospect of missing my opportunity to witness one of the greatest moments in history is a bit disheartening. This is where my checklist of consolations comes in.

  • First, between my lack of an inauguration ticket and the crushing 2 million people that will be fighting for a glimpse of our President-elect, chances are I would leave the event somewhere between unsatisfied and disappointed.
  • Second, I am just getting healthy after a week of poor health. It’s not just going to be cold, folks. Temperature predictions are bitter thanks to an Alberta Clipper, which is a fast-moving Canadian storm system that can cause temperatures to drop by 30 degrees in as little as 10 hours, that is expected to sweep down from central Canada on Monday.
    Even “warming stations” close to the swearing-in on Capitol Hill will be providing televisions for people to watch the event.

This weekend I went to the American History museum and watched actors perform the likenesses of great American figures. For example, one actor dressed as Martin Luther King Jr. performed a stirring rendition of the late Civil Rights Leader’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” It was a way to participate in the celebration without necessarily being at the National Mall on Tuesday.
Despite my inevitable lack of attendance on Tuesday, I can’t say I feel as though I won’t be a part of Mr. Obama’s historic inauguration. I will be in the newsroom watching it and recording it for future generations—or out on the street documenting the reactions of others experiencing such a momentous event. I’m just as excited as any other patriot here in D.C. and I look forward to celebrating in my own way.

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