January 19, 2009
PITTSBURGH, Pa. 6:08 EST - We're already behind schedule this morning, but with 10 hours on the road yesterday and another four ahead, we don't mind sleeping in a bit.
Marie and I are driving east to attend Barack Obama's inauguration. We decided to drive out in December after:
1. Rep. Paul Ryan's office said they had two tickets available.
2. Travelocity said plane tickets were $440 apiece.
We hopped in the car about noon Sunday (CST) heading for Baltimore, where we hope to park the car and catch a bus to the Metro line that leads to a friend's house where we'll be staying for the next few days. I have no idea what to expect. We're told to anticipate huge crowds, long lines and general chaos. But I don't have any sort of picture of what the next few days will look like.
Tickets to the inauguration basically mean we have access to a front area where we may actually get to see (though from pretty far away) Obama become the next president. But it'll be standing room only, and we have to get there about four hours early to clear security and claim a spot.
An estimated 1.5 million people are expected for the ceremony and following parade. No doubt it will be emotional for many people. My wife worked on Obama's campaign in Racine, and is excited to be part of this historic moment. I suggested we may be able to sell our tickets for a couple hundred dollars, but she'll have nothing of it.
It really is a historic time. Parties aside, the United States is about to become the first nation in the modern world to elect a minority president. (OK, there are exceptions, but Obama is the first member of a minority race that was enslaved and oppressed in recent history.)
So this is a major accomplishment for all. No matter what people say about the division of US politics, the country somehow came together to support what had been unthinkable even a few years ago.
Of course, Obama comes into office at a difficult time. But for this one day, partison politics can be set aside for reflection on a nation that's shedding its divisionist past in favor of an open airing of beliefs and backgrounds. That alone is worth celebrating, and, hopefully, being a part of.
But we've got to get there first and we're already running late. I'll be posting updates from the inauguration as often as possible. Next post probably tonight.