2:25 p.m. "The sky is crying!" says Paul from Meyerís shoulders.
"Thatís because a very bad man is about to come through," she answers. I think sheís trying to comfort him.
3:10 p.m. Sirens wail. Maude shouts from the stairs, "Look, Mama, look, Mama ó Boo Bush is coming!"
"They think his name is actually ĎBoo Bush,í" whispers Meyer. "I havenít told them his real name yet." It isnít Boo Bush. Itís a police van and SUV. This annoys Meyer. "George Bush is late," she scoffs. "Heís keeping these children waiting. Have you been left behind, Paul?"
A guy with a Red Sox knit cap yells, "Bush sucks!" Heís Pete from New Hampshire. "We want someone else!"
Near him, a goateed man in an Army-fatigue jacket turns around. "Shut up! Iím just here being peaceful, and I donít want to hear that crap!"
3:14 p.m. A female announcer heralds the arrival of three high-profile Republicans, all riding separately in a crawling procession of black cars: former Senate minority leader Trent Lott, Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and House majority leader Tom DeLay. Lottís first, waving from an open back-seat window. As his vehicle approaches my block across from the post office, hostile jeers greet him. The Mississippi senator expresses his own form of condemnation, rolling up his tinted window as he passes.
3:18 p.m. When the presidentís motorcade actually comes, itís difficult to see anything behind those tinted windows. Countless people on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue cheer. Six or seven college-age people turn their backs, holding their signs backward so the words are facing the street. Meyer screams, "Go back to Texas!" One young womanís sign waves high: MR. BUSH, UNDER MY MITTENS, I AM GIVING YOU THE FINGER.
4:05 p.m. While I was inside the parade, another scuffle between protesters and police erupted when protesters pulled down a section of the barricades. The cops sprayed "gallons of pepper spray," says one activist on the run.
4:15 p.m. Over on the corner of H Street and 16th, where the die-in took place, there is still one woman left whoís risen from the dead, dried blood flaking from the corners of her mouth. Mostly, there are a few protesters loitering around the parade exit, holding signs and heckling Republican supporters as they leave the Inaugural Parade viewing stands, obviously heading back to their hotels to get gussied up for the eveningís extravagant balls. As salon-coifed blondes, moneyed older folks, and fur-coated women rush through, two female college students intone, "Sell the fur ó pay my tuition!"
4:35 p.m. to 4:44 p.m. In exactly nine minutes, I count 19 full-length fur coats exiting Lafayette Square, one hooded fur jacket, and one coat with a furry neckline and cuffs.
4:45 p.m. One kid, pacing around the street in a hooded sweatshirt and jeans, tries to be the celebrantsí conscience. "How much money was spent on George Bushís big parties tonight that couldíve been spent on feeding homeless people? Think about it." But using guilt as a weapon on the remorseless is like pelting an armored tank with M&Mís. One mustachioed Boss Hogg doppelgänger in a cowboy hat cheers, "Damn well worth it!" Another man yells, "I know ó itís great!"
But the Republican women are much nastier. They practically hiss. "Get a job!" they heckle, which is pretty funny given that 90 percent of them look like professional lunchers. Mention of the dispossessed causes one long-haired woman in a fur-lined hood to snarl, "They like to be homeless!"
Not five minutes later, another woman boo-hoos, "Ooh, poor people."
"You donít care?" demands a nearby protester.
"No," she scowls, craning her neck to make eye contact. "I donít care about you people."
Exasperated, one activist finally bursts out, "Iíve been working a shit job my whole life while you people have been fuckiní parasailing!" The Republicans passing by smirk, as if to say, "Yes, yes, we have. And Marie Antoinette was being generous when she offered you cake."
7 p.m. I see red people. Theyíre stuffed into the Metro en route to the eveningís extravagant balls, decked out in red taffeta dresses, red bow ties, red coats, red lipstick. Some of the more gauche wear American-flag stocking caps with their dresses, and cowboy hats with tuxedoes. Women carry their open-toed high heels in plastic bags so they wonít get their feet wet. They eyeball each other, fix their hair in the train windowís reflection, and exude that oblivious, pre-dance giddiness. "Which ball are you going to?" they ask one another on the train. "The Stars & Stripes?"
10:30 p.m. through 1 a.m. A dimly lit, smoky second-floor club called the Black Cat. Itís an anti-inauguration ball organized by Sonic Youthís Thurston Moore and billed as "Noise Against Fascism," a reference to the SY song "Youth Against Fascism." On stage, thereís not much discussion about what went on today, outside these walls, until the Connecticut threesome Magik Markers cry out, "Either youíre with us or youíre against us!" Maybe itís because this feels like a different country than the one Bush sold to its citizens today ó here art is king, fundamentalism doesnít define freedom, and everything on the outside is forgotten.
At the very end, Moore seizes the mike. "Are you ready to fight?" he screams. "Are you ready to fight? Are you ready to fffiiiiighhhht?!?" He singles out strangers in front of the stage. "Are you ready to fight, Flannel Shirt? Are you ready to fight, Cigarette Face?" He pauses. "No? Thatís right, man. Weíre all different."
Camille Dodero can be reached at email@example.com 3
Issue Date: January 28 - February 3, 2005
Back to the News & Features table of contents
|about the phoenix | advertising info | Webmaster | work for us|
|Copyright © 2005 Phoenix Media/Communications Group|