samedi 24 janvier 2009

All my bags are packed

And I'm ready to go


The thank you notes with the url (password: obama44) for the photos of the ball/social have gone out, and the most gratifying messages are coming in from those who were there, as well as bits and pieces of so many others' experiences, watching the inauguration from The Plough and Stars in Philadelphia with other MYBO groups, or stuck in the tunnel with everyone else from the purple section group, or the serendipity of receiving a ticket to the silver section from another supporter at our very own ball.

Some of us who were in Washington ended up watching on television (again and again, due to the wonder of TiVo), wondering if we regretted our choices. You make them. You don't regret them.

Now, I return home to my son and husband to face the dog fur, the maddeningly, frustratingly disappointing contractor (who I would love to disappoint me in not -- disappointing me -- after all --) and everything that happened while I wasn't there to make sure it didn't, or wouldn't, or let it go.

I'm wearing my easy to take off and put back on shoes.

....

The Purple Ticket of DOOM

or, the reality of change


"The tunnel people sing Lean on Me to keep from going crazy. "



Purple Tunnel of Doom -- A Song


The lyrics:

Well I gotta tell ya, a little story, about a line I was in.
Woke up early in the morning shoulda had me some gin.
Yeah i was up so early to the subway, the morning barely began.
So crowded there at the station, only Waldo would grin.

But i rode that train to

the Purple Tunnel of Doom.

Line snaked straight through the highway, under 395.
People clamoring for a little elbow
room, just to stay alive.
And me? I just stood there with my camera and i took it all in.
The patriotic songs interspersed by chants of "P
lease let us in,"

Oh why can't we leave here?

This Purple Tunnel of Doom.

We've been standing here without direction for far too long.
Won't the Good Lord send us someone who knows what's going on?
If any of us had any idea this is how
it would be,
We would have just junked their tickets, and wai
ted for 2013.

I hope by then there's no...
Purple Tunnel of Doom

So the gates were closed at 11 am.
People out there, standing there ever
ywhere, screaming "Please let us In!"
And me? I just stood there with my camera.
I laughed and i cried.
That tunnel was just so damned gross, smelled like something had died.


I guess there's no circulation...
In Purple Tunnels of Doom
(Purple Tunnels of Doom)

The Purple Tunnel of Doom
(Purple Tunnel of Doom)
Purple Tunnel of Doom.

Its just like a black tunnel of doom,
Except the people in it have purple t
ickets.
It's kind of like a cricket match.



....
Saudia's experience in the tunnel

in her words

The most amazing thing in all of this is that there was not ONE arrest (even if there WERE there were no cops around to arrest anyone), no fights, no riots. Not in the tunnel or outside of the Purple Gates or anywhere in DC on Inauguration Day. Everyone kept their cool. There WERE moments of frustration & chanting & yelling & anger & it DID get tense & scary at times, but we all kept each other calm & focused.

It truly is a miracle that this thing did not get out of control. It speaks to the humanity, spirit & common good of the people that we
re drawn to DC for Obama. And I think it speaks to Obama & the way he makes people feel.

That being said, after you look at these pix
& videos I think no one would have blamed us if we let loose with a full on riot! What breaks my heart the most is thinking about all of the elderly black folk who were in line with us at the crack of dawn, some of them with canes & walkers. They were so proud & elegant & happy, dressed up in their Obama gear. They were subjected to such an indignity, standing in that tunnel for 5-7 hours only to be locked out with the rest of us. I can’t even think about it without crying. They, more than anyone, in my opinion, deserve an apology. Also, the folks with small kids - they were troopers.

I guess we were lucky in that when THE MOMENT happened we were out of the tunnel. Some folks were still in it. We were right at the gate packed in so tight that my body got turned sideways…and I couldn
’t run around.

I’ll be doing a write up about my trip…once I get my mind around it all & come to terms with what happened. And I will explain what we did when history was made; how we experienced THE MOMENT is really quite moving….even if it isn’t the way we all envisioned it. It is a memory that I cling to
with all my heart & soul for it WAS our moment – shared with other Purple Ticket People, a special bond we will share forever.

....

And Lonnee

http://www.barackoblogger.com/2009/01/cursed-purple-tickets-or-how-i-worked.html
....

And Nikki

one of our biggest helpers for the MYBO GIB 2009, the Social!, quoted in the Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/24/AR2009012401928.html?sid=ST2009012402203&s_pos

....

And Marcia

Or, one woman's account -- in her own words -- of how she made it through the Gate


Since you asked ... Ted and I were very lucky to get tickets to the Inauguration. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Ted got a silver ticket and I got a purple ticket (both were in "standing" areas but we weren't able to stand together). We were just happy to have tickets which allowed us to get closer to the Capitol than those without tickets. To give you a quick summary, we got up at 3:15 am Tuesday morning! The Loudoun County Democrats had chartered 4 buses ... we boarded our bus at 5 am and arrived at RFK Stadium in DC around 7 am. We then waited in line for a shuttle bus to the Mall. Two other ardent Loudoun volunteers (Patti and Toni, a mother-daughter team) who also had purple tickets joined us on the shuttle bus. By the way, Patti is 69 years old with knee problems but she's an amazingly determined person and did not slow us down at all! Everything went smoothly on the shuttle until we got stuck in "bus gridlock" on Southwest Freeway. Our bus inched along for nearly 2 hours ... we were only a few blocks from the Mall but the driver wouldn't let anyone off because we were on an elevated freeway! We finally were able to disembark at 6th Street SW around 9 am. We "landed" in a huge crowd of people all heading for the Mall ... I've never seen anything like it but everyone was happy and excited and gracious ... it was fun! Most streets were closed off to pedestrians so we all moved together until we got to Independence Ave (which borders the south side of the Mall). Then the folks with tickets turned right and everyone else turned left. About 20 minutes later, we reached the silver entrance and Ted was able to get in right away (lucky guy). Because the purple entrance was on the north side of the Mall and there was absolutely no way to walk across the mall, Toni, Patti and I had no option but to take the 3rd Street tunnel under the Mall to get to the purple entrance gate. We ended up doing a lot of back-tracking to find the entrance to the tunnel ... and the tunnel turned out to be very crowded and extremely long, but we finally emerged at Massachusetts Avenue around 9:45 am. We learned later that we were very lucky to get through the tunnel (I think it was because we had inadvertently selected the southbound tunnel, not the northbound tunnel in which the bottleneck occurred. As you know, a LOT of people were stuck there and never saw the Inauguration! I was glad to hear that Senator Dianne Feinstein has called for an investigation to get to the bottom of the Purple Tunnel of Doom episode. After we emerged from the tunnel, we walked several blocks following the directions we'd been given by a couple of policemen along the route, and we ended up getting totally stuck in a jam-packed street filled with purple ticket holders ... the crowd was packed tightly between the buildings on each side of the street. We knew we had to figure a way out of this mess or we wouldn't make it to the purple gate before they closed it (we were 3 blocks away from the gate and heard they were going to lock it at 11:30 am). We were fortunate again ... all of a sudden an ambulance needed to come down our side of the street. Although it was inching its way along because of the crowd, we were able to squeeze behind it and follow it until it stopped near the end of the block. When we finally got to the corner, a policeman told us there was an accident in the next block and we needed to take a detour around that block. That also turned out to be fortunate, because about 10 minutes later we ended up behind a funnel of people outside the purple gate! Given the size of this group, we were still not sure we'd make the cutoff (turns out they didn't lock the gate until noon but, even then, a LOT of purple ticket holders were turned away ... Senator Feinstein's investigation will also look into why they closed any of the ticket gates since there was still room for more folks in every section on the Mall). Anyway, we made it through at 11:10 am and we were jubilant!!

Once in, we had a lot of fun finding a good spot to see the Swearing-In Ceremony and Obama's speech ... we couldn't get close enough to see the individuals speaking (including Obama) and a big tree blocked the jumbotron screen closest to us, but we had a wonderful time anyway. Everyone in the crowd was in a jubilant mood ... it was a wonderfully happy and diverse crowd ... by far, the largest crowd of people I have ever been in. Although it was a really cold day, everyone I saw was excited to be there and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Throughout the day (even when we were all crushed together), people were laughing and kind to others, trying to make sure no one got hurt. In fact, we learned later that there were no serious problems at all that day ... no violence, no arrests, and no serious injuries (except for medical emergencies) ... a true success given the size of the crowd (estimated at nearly 2 million ... the largest crowd in DC's history)! I thought Barack's speech was amazing ... in fact, everyone around me also seemed to be deeply moved by his words of hope. After the ceremony, we tried to meet up with our friends at Union Station. However, when they closed Union Station around 3 pm because of the mobs of people, Ted and I walked the 2 miles back to RFK Stadium (we didn't dare take another shuttle bus), found our chartered bus, arrived back in Loudoun around 6 pm, and had a wonderful time watching the balls on TV. Sure hope you enjoyed the Inauguration as much as we did. What a truly historic day!! I truly believe that if we roll up our sleeves and work together, we will be able to solve the difficult problems our country is facing right now and America will be stronger than ever.
....

Meredith


who traveled all the way from Lautrec, France with her Obama Bridge Project for our
MYBO Grassroots Inaugural Ball 2009, the Social!
and to represent Dems Abroad, Toulouse at the inauguration

and did not make it in

with her purple ticket and husband Robyn Ellis
in front of a Homeland Insecurity vehicle, as she calls it



I'm just back to Lautrec and catching up....
I hope you got into the swearing-in!

I didn't! This was my report to our chapter:

I traveled to Washington, D.C. for the inauguration, representing, I hoped, our Toulouse Chapter of Democrats Abroad and the Obama Bridge Project -- but all didn't go as planned...

I've joined the Facebook groups, Survivers of the Purple Tunnel of Gloom, to commiserate with thousands of others of ticket holders who also traveled long distances only to be turned away from the Swearing-in Ceremony at the Capitol.

High school football games have better crowd control!

No volunteers, no stewards, no signs, no megaphones informing the crowd of problems, no interest or sympathy from police on duty.

Unbelievable incompetence.

If the crowd had not been so good-willed and happy about Obama, it could have been a disaster. I got so close to the purple entry gate that I could watch the security checks through a barrier -- and see how few people they processes in sporadic batches.


Trying to un-gnash my teeth...

Democrats abroad Toulouse Excom member Angela Shaw DID get in, but Strasbourg Chaiar Susan Vaillant did not; Obama Super-gelegate from Ireland, Liv Gibbons did not; Executive Director of Democrats Abroad, Linsey Renolds did not; Obama coordinator Kim Reed did not -- along with some 5 to 10 thousand other Obama supporters who traveled from far and wide to witness history.

At least Obama is Preside nt!

How do you make God laugh?
Tell him your plans....

Meredith Wheeler
....

For all your missed swearing-in shopping needs

http://www.ialmostwitnessedhistory.com/

Enjoy!
....
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