Of Bars, Booze, and Bartending - Proving "Coughlin's Law" Invalid Since Feb '05

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Inauguration 2009 - The Blue Ticket To Nowhere - ***NOW, with PHOTOS!***

And now... the Tale of The Blue People: My Inauguration 2009 Story!

I was one of those clutching a coveted and much-lusted-after Blue Ticket, who never actually made it into the Inauguration Ceremony. What a sad and unorganized mess that was. Just massive crowds, no security, no directions, no police presence, no nuthin'. We arrived at the Blue security entrance at 8:30 (we were instructed beforehand that the gate would not open until 9:00) and waited patiently for three hours in the cold, packed in like penguins, moving forward toward the entrance maybe a few inches every fifteen minutes. Spirits remained high, though, and we chanted "Keep Hope Alive!!" and "What's Going On!!" at various intervals. Around 11:30, however, the "line" broke down and the thousands behind us surged forward, scattering everyone else in all sorts of directions. In the crowd push, I ended up swept up to the left and face-planted into a tree (ouch!!). 

A few photos of the mind-blowing Blue Ticket "Line":



Of course, realizing now we weren't going to see the Inauguration at all, and quite weary of crowds, we high-tailed it up and out of there, standing on 2nd Street behind the Capitol just as the cannon fire went off. Realizing Obama had finally just become President, we just hugged and cried with strangers on the street, most of them dejected ticket-holders.

Photo as the 21-Gun-Salute was fired off - 2nd Street and East Capitol:


Following that, we were lucky enough to beat the crowd back up to Union Station and ducked into The Dubliner (where "Morning Poison Joe" was filming all week) to lift a pint and a whiskey just in time to see Bush's helicopter lift off. It was there that we first learned about our Purple Ticket Brethren in Solidarity, who experienced
The Purple Ticket Tunnel Of Doom,  since the bar was packed with them, as well. They actually seem to have had it worse than we "Blue People" did. We joined in hearty choruses of "Na Na Hey Hey" and "There's No One As Irish As Barack Obama." (short YouTube video of that moment here.)

Watching Bush & Posse fly back to Texas, with fellow Inauguration Revelers at The Dubliner!:


All in all, it was an absolute blast, and even though we were sorely disappointed to have had tickets and yet saw nothing, I'd still do it over again. It is a real testament to the character and jovial nature of the thousands of us in "line" that nothing awful happened. And celebrating on the street just yards away and later at an Irish bar packed with revelers? Well, that part didn't suck at all.

Crowd at Union Station, after the party, trying to get home:


It just goes to show you that sometimes, things don't turn out the way you anticipated; they, in fact, turn out better.  My Inauguration memories are precious to me, and I am so thrilled and happy to have been there, to have been in the midst of that energy, to have been counted.  I hope we can all just take a moment to lift our glasses to The New Day.  It really is an amazing and wondrous time to be an American.

Know Hope.

(Edit: Washington Post has the best news article yet about what happened: Inaugural Missteps and Miscalculations)

(And many thanks to the good, fine people at Progressive Blend Radio for inviting me on-air the Monday before the Inauguration.  What an amazing group of bad-ass policy wonks and jam-spinnin' deejays!  ;-)  Listen early and often.)

O’Leary! O’Reilly! O’Hare and O’Hara!
There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama
From the old Blarney stone to the green hills of Tara
There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama

You don’t believe me, I hear you say
But Barack’s as Irish as was JFK
His grandaddy’s daddy came from Moneygall
A small Irish village, well known to you all

Toor a loo! Toor a loo! Toor a loo, toor a lama
There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama

- The Corrigan Brothers, "There's No One As Irish As Barack O'Bama"

(photos courtesy JJ Saul, partner in Inaugural Madness and Blue Ticket Heartbreak)