Monday, January 19, 2009

The Delect Connect Goes to Washington (Part I)

A welcoming IKEA ad wrapped around a pole in DC subway.

We Are One (1/18/09)

“Satisfy your thirst for change!” the man yelled to passersby as he peddled Obama water.

The hustlers were out in rare form. They showcased not only the standard shirts, hats, and pins, but Obama binoculars, Obama basketballs (“The only inaugural balls you don’t need tickets for!”), Obama earrings (“Change for your ears!”), Obama cameras that printout “Inauguration 2009” at the bottom of every photo, and of course--Obama scented oils.

My sister, my friend Jeannine and I were among the thousands headed down the middle of 17th Ave in Washington, DC on the cool Sunday afternoon before the inauguration of Barack Obama. Our destination was the Lincoln Memorial for the We Are One concert featuring Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, Stevie Wonder, U2, and Usher amongst others.

The area in front of the Lincoln Memorial was packed, so we marched over to join the crowd viewing the concert via jumbotrons from across the street in front of the Washington Monument. The crowd cheered each time the camera briefly showed Obama.

I studied the faces of the people around us. Some were smooth, others wrinkled. Some of the faces were brown, others beige, and others were ivory. The demographics reflected a norm when it comes to all things Obama. Diversity. Black, white, Latino, Asian, seasoned, rollin’ in strollers, rollin’ in wheelchairs.

I wondered about their stories and how far they had come. Did they have to be as “financially creative” as I did to make the trip? Were they too living in the home of gracious strangers, strangers that had left town for the same reason I was here? We met an Indonesian man who had driven three days from Washington state; he and five others were staying in a friend’s studio apartment in the city. We chatted with a black woman who was stationed in Germany who made the pilgrimage as well.

“Different people had different feelings but in the same vein we all had the same feeling and the same purpose,” my sister said, explaining her thoughts for the day. “We’re here not to just be a part of history but to be a part of the change.”

Guard vehicles at every corner, naked tree branches against grey skies, walking in the middle of what is usually a busy city street…it all felt surreal. All eyes worldwide are on this place right now. And I’m here, I thought. I felt glad that I made the sacrifice.

Thousands of onlookers view the HBO We Are One concert via jumbotrons in front of the Washington Monument.

A baby Obama supporter dressed appropriately for the 20ish, 30ish degree weather.

See all the way back by the base of the Washington Monument? Those are people too.

A handful of protesters being escorted away.

Obama scented oils (not Obama-scented oils..)

This is a great photo of our president. I thought it was a Gap ad at first.

"Satisfy your thirst for change!"


spchrist said...

It was absolutely an amazing experience...I have to work on my own blog entry

Delect said...

Wasn't it amazing? Can't wait to read your take. It takes a while to digest and to be able to communicate the awesomeness of the day. Please send me the link to your blog (I knew what it was at one point and I thought I bookmarked it but didn't :( )

Anonymous said...