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petrini1 [userpic]

So Close, and Yet So Far

January 14th, 2009 (05:19 pm)

current mood: disappointed

I have been increasingly discouraged by the planning for the Presidential Inauguration. I volunteered for the campaign for months. I worked for the Democrats at the polls on Election Day. I'm still in a state of joyful disbelief over Obama's win not only nationally but here in formerly red Virginia. But the people who are organizing this inauguration are idiots.

Yes, I understand the need for security. I understand that huge numbers of people converging on one city at the same time can cause huge hassles. But I don't understand why the organizers' solutions to these issues all involve making it nearly impossible for people who live nearby to get to the ceremony.

I live, like, 6 miles from the Capitol. Seems like this would be a no-brainer, right? But I'm beginning to think it would be easier to get to this inauguration if I lived 600 miles away. Every decision that has been made about access seems to have the effect of keeping out the people who live here in the Northern Virginia suburbs, especially those of us who live close in to the city.

All of the bridges across the river into D.C. will be closed. Many of the other roads in and around the city will be closed. The Metro will be open and is recommended for people wanting to get into the District from the surrounding suburbs -- unless you live near one of the Northern Virginia stations that is close in to the city, in which case the trains are expected to be so full by the time they get to us that we have no hope of actually getting on one. And good luck driving out to an outer station in order to get on a Metro there, because there will be nowhere left to park at those stations.

Oh, and if those hassles aren't enough, did you hear about the port-a-potty situation? Organizers are expecting 2 million people to be crowding the mall on Inauguration Day. Number of port-a-potties being provided: 5,000. What's wrong with this picture?

As for that evening, not being well-connected enough to have received an invitation to one of the official inaugural balls, I was pleased to hear that the local Democratic party office was holding one in Alexandria. I was even more pleased to hear that the planners were committed to keeping the price low enough to encourage everyone to attend. The low, low admission price: $150 a person.

I think I might end up staying home on Inauguration Day and watching it all on TV. I'll probably see more of it in my own living room than as one of a crowd of 2 million. It'll be warmer, too.