Imagine

I just found a great new ad released by CatholicVote.org that fully displays the inherent discrimination and racism often involved in abortion. The 41 second spot shows an early ultrasound, while statements used to justify abortion along the lines of cost, single parenting, etc. are displayed above. The ad concludes with a picture of President Obama, an African-American child born into an unstable family of few economic means -characteristics that greatly increase the chances that a child will become a victim of abortion- and a powerful slogan: Life. Imagine the potential.

Take a minute and follow the link. It’s an important message.
|

Inauguration 2009

Originally, I decided that I wasn’t going to make the trip to Barack Obama’s inauguration. After all, I’m not exactly Obama’s biggest fan and I figured I’d get stuck at work all day covering shifts for coworkers more interested in his inauguration than me. But, after thinking about the situation a bit more, I decided that it would be a huge waste of my college experience in Washington for me to miss the historic event. What are the chances that I’ll ever be down here in DC again for such a big day? They’re pretty slim, I think.

So, I awoke at 5:45 A.M. this morning and met up with two friends at 6:30 to trek down towards the National Mall.
The moon still shone over the Potomac at such an early hour and the street lights on M Street cast shadows over the dozens of Georgetown early birds heading towards Pennsylvania Ave. It was just about 20 degrees at that point, which didn’t feel all that chilling under at least five layers of clothing. I even mustered up the courage to order an iced coffee at Starbucks on the way, only to be told that they weren’t expecting anyone to order iced drinks on such a cold day and therefore didn’t have any ready. I decided to be normal and settle for hot coffee, instead.

The sun began to rise as we made our way a mile or two north towards the Washington Monument. Here, we were greated by enthusiastic Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts volunteers with bright red hats, exuberantly screaming
“Welcome to Inaguration! Welcome to DC!”. The mall was already beginning to fill, with some viewers settling for farther away spots directly in front of the monitors instead of risking a closer spot without sound or visual of the events. We tried to get as close as possible, but the Army National Guard and park rangers closely guarded metal fence partitions acting as road blocks. After running around the foot traffic on the mall like Frogger crossing the highway, we finally realized that the more we back tracked to get around the obstructions, the more likely we were to get stuck back there. So, we settled for a spot near the front of the 7th Ave. road block, between Jefferson and Madison Streets.

The ceremonies started around 11:00, as the announcer welcomed the House and Senate. Prior to this, those around me huddled together for warmth and tossed around a beach ball in the image of the world, much like they do at Fenway Park. The crowd was largely indifferent to the House and Senate, then snapped into attention at the sights of Beyonce, P. Diddy, etc. Afterwards, during the procession of past presidents, Jimmy Carter recieved warm applause, George H.W. Bush was lightly booed, and Bill Clinton was cheered like a hero.
The presidential families then followed. Laura Bush and Lynn Cheney recieved light applause, while former President George W. Bush was greeted with jeers and boos. My section of the crowd, containing tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people, joined together in the infamous athletic event song “Na na na na...hey hey hey....good bye”. Before this I was honestly hoping that the crowd would have enough class and respect to receive the then-President warmly. I was wrong. Instead, the crowd continued the troubling trend of the past eight years, mocking and belittling our head of state. It’s really a sad sight to see the leader of the free world treated in such a way, not to mention detrimental to our national image and standing as citizens and governments abroad lose a degree of respect for the office. Any president, regardless of ideological differences, deserves public respect.

After the chain of past presidents, the swearing in of Vice President Joe Biden, and the benediction by pastor Rick Warren, the man of the hour made his way on stage, greeted by the roar of the crowd shouting “O-bama, O-bama”. It was a pretty powerful moment feeling the excitement of such a large group of people. He then awkwardly recited the oath just after noontime, already legally President according to the Constitution, as both he and Chief Justice Roberts stumbled over the words.

Following an introduction by Dianne Feinstein that focused on the historical significance of the election of America’s first black president, President Obama gave a well written and spoken speech highlighting his confidence in America’s ability to face the challenging times ahead based on our past history and shared values.
I was actually surprised by the reception of the speech because of my following of his campaign over the past year. In those speeches, convention halls always seemed to be filled with roaring, cheering crowds. Here, the scene was almost serene. The audience clapped and cheered a few times, but nothing like the stump-speech-like excitement I was expecting. The seriousness of his words, the history of the moment, and the bitter cold played a role in the reaction, I’m sure. The speech itself was lofty, as expected given past speeches and the circumstances. He spoke of sacrifice and turning around many of the troubles facing Americans these days. He not-so-subtly criticized the administration lead by the man seated right behind him. He unapologetically told terrorist threats to the nation and the world that America will not tolerate their actions. And finally, as the speech came to a close, his ending words were meet with a final round of jubliant cheers.

We then battled the crowds back to Georgetown, again confused
by the lack of direction and random road blocks entrapping the million-plus people in attendance. After standing for eight hours, the movement away from the mall was welcomed by my stiff knees and frozen toes. Along the way back I ran into two friends from home, much to my surprise. Small world.

My first inaugural experience was capped off with a three hour nap back in my warm Village A. It was a memorable day for sure. Looking back, I can’t believe I was about to skip it.

---------

I’ve posted a new album under my Photos tab titled “Inauguration 2009”. Feel free to leave any questions about the day in the comments feed and I’ll get back to you.
|

Florida

Sights from St. Petersburg, Florida, where I spent the first part of the weekend in beautiful 68 degree weather at the ALPCA (American License Plates Collectors Association) regional license plate show:




And for those of you who can’t picture a license plate show...



See also: PlatesUSA
|

Gaza

Responsibility for the ongoing crisis in Gaza rests on the shoulders of Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization by most of the Western world, and Hamas alone. I find many of the protests that I’ve witnessed around the streets of Washington, D.C. and the Georgetown campus exceedingly misleading. Granted, there have been great costs associated with this brief war thus far, both civilian and military, and these losses are indeed regrettable. The focus on civilian casualties is important, and pressure should be placed on Israel to be discriminate in its attacks. However, it must be remembered that Israel is finally taking action against Hamas’ own disrespect for Israeli civilians and the war resolutions. Israel did not just wake up one morning and decide to attack Hamas in Gaza. Hamas invited this attack on its people by continually lobbing rockets into Israeli territory, indiscriminately endangering the lives of Israeli men, women, and children. Hamas, like most other militant Muslim terrorist organizations, shows no respect for any sort of life, even that of its own people, as Israel has allegedly discovered booby trapped school buildings. Until Hamas changes its behavior, neither the residents of Gaza, nor the world can expect peace in the region.
|

Georgetown Moment

Alright, so I just had a big “Georgetown Moment” as I like to call them. A Georgetown Moment is a sort of epiphany when I realize, “Wow, I’m really lucky to be at such a great school in the heat of the action down here in the capital of the United States”.

So, I’m sitting at 8 PM mass tonight listening to the readings (about ephphanies, ironically), looking around the chapel...and who do I see? None other than Massachusetts Senator and former presidential candidate, John Kerry and his wife. He’s taller than I expected and was standing on the base of the organ, so he stuck out like a sore thumb. It was funny watching the rest of the church realize that he was in attentance throughout the mass, as you would catch wandering eyes freeze, then widen. Excited hands would then tap the knees of those around them and covertly point to the back of the chapel.

Only at Georgetown...
|

Inauguration

You can sense the aura of inauguration in the air down here in DC right now. The city feels excited, yet on edge, hoping it will be able to meet everyone’s high expectations and run both safely and smoothly. Traffic is already starting to build. I had a hard time driving to the Georgetown vs. Providence basketball game at the Verizon Center this afternoon because a big section of Pennsylvania Avenue was closed in preparation of Tuesday. All along the detour workers were assembling stands for the crowds and putting up banners on light poles. You can feel the inauguration everywhere.

What does it mean to me? Well, it means a day off from school! Four day weekend with MLK day and the inauguration. I can’t decide if I should hang around in town for the big day or visit my brother or friends in Maryland and avoid the chaos. What do you think?
|