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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Exclusive: A cold sense of dread: Inaugural 2017

What is it that draws people to this man?

Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange
Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

A cold sense of dread had over come me. It’s the sense of dread only an old German might understand. This past weekend I witnessed first hand cheering crowds of thousands of Americans as jumbo-trons showed the new President lay his hand on the bible. This is my fourth inaugural, I was there for Bush in 2005, and both of Obama’s ’09 and ’13.

I promised NationofChange a simple voices from the Inaugural. I’m not sure that I can provide something that simple. I talked to many Trump supporters and detractors. But there’s more to this day than simple vox pops. This is one of those moments in history, possibly even more significant than the one eight years ago when a black man, Barack Obama, was sworn in as president. Only time will tell.

Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

Obama promised change but was stopped from delivering any by an obstructionist Congress and a Tea Party movement funded by billionaires and racism prompted by the man that would become the next President. The same man that brought question to Obama’s legal ability to serve as President now enters Washington DC and will occupy the White House. He’s a man that has millions of devoted followers and a Congress that seems at his beck and calling.

Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

This man who called for women to be punished if they have an abortion, will decide the next Supreme Court Justice. The same man that claimed that Mexicans were rapists and criminals will appoint the next head of the Department of Homeland Security. He’ll also, after mocking a disabled reporter, choose the person that will oversee Heath and Human Services for the nation.

I could go on. There doesn’t seem to be a segment of the population that he hasn’t insulted and yet here we are.

Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

Standing on the mall with three hispanic women that told me they voted for Obama in 2012 but voted for Trump this time around, I was even more perplexed. What is it that draws people to this man? His entertainment value? Is it just the simple and bold statements that bring people in from the cold of our democracy?

During the speech which roughly 250,000 people watched from the Washington Mall and another 30 million on their TV’s, President Trump proclaimed that  “A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions. It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget — that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.” Coming from a man that campaigned with nothing but divisiveness those are some stunning words.

Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

As Obama walked to the helicopter, the one that would take him from the most powerful position in the world to that of just an ordinary man, Trump’s inaugural committee played Rocket Man by Elton John.

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time

Till touch down brings me ’round again to find

I’m not the man they think I am at home

Oh, no, no, no, I’m a rocket man

I asked the two Maria’s that stood closest to me what they thought of the choice of music – one of Trump’s favorite songs and a regular of the campaign trail. They too, were perplexed but they had tears in their eyes. They’d miss Obama, but his time was up.

Over at the protests along the parade route, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr of the Hip Hop Caucus called for people to raise their fist in the air. “You all ready to fight?” Hundreds of protestors fists in the air, cheered and yelled back “Can’t stop! Won’t Stop!”

Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

Yearwood, a man that’s been a regular fixture of protests around the country for years now revved up the crowd that stood in their designated space organized by ANSWER. “We are hear, not only to fight for equality, but for existence.This movement, is not just about what they… I heard someone chanting USA. USA? USA? As though we aren’t Americans. Who are standing up here right now. It’s the real Americans that take on foreign and domestic.”

Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

As I hear that, I’m reminded that I stood in this spot 12 years before, listening to speakers discuss President Bush. Calling him, correctly, a war criminal after he was elected a second time. Here’s hoping that in another four I won’t be hear listening to it all over again. If we should last that long.

And all this science I don’t understand

It’s just my job five days a week

A rocket man, a rocket man

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time

Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange
Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange
Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange
Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange
Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange
Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange
Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange
Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange
Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange
Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange
Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange
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