My friend Brad Torti is an ELD English teacher, Democratic Party activist, and a genuinely down to earth guy. I have known him from before the campaign but together this cycle we attended a few events and made phone calls to swing states.
He and his wife left Friday night to go to DC for the inauguration and he will be writing brief updates while they are there. Brad, take an obscene amount of photos. I want to see the throng of people. Take photos of the street vendors, people with wacky hats, and the lines to move around. Maybe a photo of you two holding a Barack Obama sign in front of the Lincoln Memorial?
Here is the first update from Brad Torti:
It appears that there are two masses assembling in Washington, D.C. this weekend. The first, and by a wide margin the smaller, are handfuls of college students and Democratic Party loyals pouring into the Capitol with itineraries authored by the Obama Campaign Team. They'll stay in hotels, attend various meetings, and apparently have their meals comped. On the connecting flight from Memphis to Reagan Airport, a row of these individuals sat behind us, acquainting themselves with each other, some more eagerly than others, but all connected by a singular thread.
We are in the other group: a thronging mass, rumored to number in the millions, some without reservations, many without admission tickets, and most without obvious connections to the larger group.
Camped out against a window in the back of the A320 from Memphis, I initially lamented my plight. Why didn't I have the foresight to book reservations with the Obama organization? Where is my officially-licensed economy hoodie? Where are my built-in friends and where is my itinerary? Why isn't someone else making sure I will have a good time?
Once it became clear that some people had buses and trams waiting for them off the plane, I got to envying Them - you know, Those People with Privileges. But now that I think about it, great privilege often comes with great stress, so in the end, a privilege is little more than someone else's regular day. And maybe there is no Them - since they are like us. Maybe there is only Us.
Well, Dennert ( Note from Brian: Brad you keep calling me Dennert and the dry erase markers in your room will "disappear"), I can't speak for the whole, but as for myself, I've been having a great time since November. I have millions of friends across this great nation, and while I didn't book fare with the Obama Team, I've got an itinerary just the same. Best of all, I'm connected to virtually every visitor to D.C. by a even greater bond - I voted for Barack Obama, and I have come to watch history be made. And when the cheers go up around the city, and when they echo across the nation, I will be in the middle of it, I will be part of it.
And as far as that officially-licensed econo-hoodie goes - it's 28 degrees outside; I'll stick to my winter parka.