Once again, I was honored to be invited to broadcast my radio show from radio row at Inauguration 2005. It was an eventful and enlightening week to state the least. I have broken down some of the highlights and low points so readers can understand with great clarity what really transpired in Washington D.C. from January 18-20.
THE GOOD SAMARITAN
Around 9:30 AM the day of the Inauguration I left from radio row which was being held at the Holiday Inn on New Jersey Avenue for my seat. I expected a short simple journey due to the fact that I was only a long golf drive away from the capital, to my surprise I was terribly wrong. As I approached the capital I asked directions on where I was supposed to enter to get to my seat. I am unfamiliar with Washington D.C., plus security was rendering every map useless due to street closings, so asking for directions (despite my gender aversion to doing so) seemed like a wise idea.
I was first instructed to enter at the BLUE GATE. Entrances were color coded to match the color ticket one possessed, however for some reason there was no gate associated with my ticket color orange. When I showed my ticket to security the puzzled look on their faces foreshadowed a difficult morning. Every security guard I asked presented me their own unique yet useless answer. Whatever happened to the phrase “I don’t know.” If you don’t have the answer to something there is nothing wrong in letting that person know. No information is always better than wrong information. While I continued on my quest for the ORANGE GATE I had my cell phone glued to my ear doing guest appearances from Cheyenne, WY to San Antonio, TX to Willmar, MN. Did I happen to mention it was cold…very cold. Did I also mention that I was traversing through the snow in very insensible shoes?
One hour, three radio shows and about three miles later…frustration had officially set in. I had seen the same color gates several times now as I meandered aimlessly in circles. I decided to ask a volunteer this time instead of security hoping for a solution. The answer I got this time, “I don’t know, but I will help you find it.”
This wonderful human being pulled out a map and we proceeded to try to figure where I had gone and failed. We devised a plan of attack and off we went, here, there and everywhere and continued to come up empty. This volunteer was trying everything to get me where I needed to be and we continued coming up empty. After exhausting all of our options, he came up with a solution, the subway (in D.C. it’s called the metro). He took me to the metro station, he went inside with me, and explained where I needed to go. I thanked the man for being so kind and taking his time to help me. As I reached into my pocket for my wallet to buy a metro pass I realized to my horror that I left my wallet back at radio row. At that point in time I realized that it would be impossible for me to go back to the hotel and make the Inauguration. I was going to miss it. Disappointment overcame me and it must have showed on my face. My Good Samaritan read me like a book, without me even saying a word.
“You forgot your wallet?”
I responded in the affirmative.
“It would be my pleasure to buy it for you.”
I argued with him for a bit, but he insisted and he pulled out his wallet and bought my ticket. This man had gone out of his way for someone he didn’t know. He could have stayed in his tent with the portable heater and hot chocolate and coffee. Instead, he went out of his way for a complete stranger. All the trouble that I went through that freezing Thursday morning was worth it, to experience some benevolence from a complete stranger.
The Inauguration was without a doubt a once in a lifetime experience. The event was absolutely magical. From the songs, the oaths, to all the terrific people in attendance, television does not do it any justice. I was sitting right at the steps of the Capital directly below the podium. People were willing to pay upwards of $8000 for a ticket in my section. The offer was obviously tempting, but if there was ever a MasterCard/Priceless moment this was it. There was no way I was going to miss this!
The overall mood during my three days in Washington D.C. was festive to say the least. I was thrilled to meet so many people all with great stories and different backgrounds. Radio row, where I set up camp was a stream of not only politicians and pundits, but listeners. Fans of the Watchdog on Wall Street Show came to visit me from Alaska to New Hampshire. It was an honor to spend time with such wonderful people.
The media gave it the old college try in the weeks prior to the Inauguration to paint the festivities as a spending free-for-all. Americans were reminded over and over of the $40 million dollar price tag. Articles were written by moronic columnists making shopping lists of what $40 million could buy. With all due respect (I do not have much) these economic idiots have not a clue in how our economy works. First, the $40 million was from private donors. Second, think about, contemplate, and reflect on who actually benefits from the $40 million “price tag”? None other than the taxi drivers, waiters, waitresses, caterers, small business owners all over Washington D.C. My taxi driver, Teshome, from Somalia told me he had his best week in years. All over D.C. restaurants were packed. The very seat I was in at the Inauguration was from a D.C. party supply store. Thousands and thousands of people descended upon Washington D.C. for a week, spending money and enjoying themselves. I ask how that is bad in any way shape or form. Try telling that to the working people and small business owners of Washington D.C.
In my great quest to find my seat I encountered a few of the usual Socialist/Communist/Anarchists/Anti-Everything types. They had a meeting place on one of the side streets near the subway station that eventually took me to my seat. Their numbers were in the hundreds. Low hundreds. I admit I was a little surprised at their lack of numbers, especially with all press they had been receiving over the prior two weeks. Reality, the real story, the truth, not the garbage that ABC, Peter Jennings and the rest of his peers was force feeding you, was there was NO REAL PROTEST. When one idiot sets fire to some garbage on the parade route, it received five minutes of analysis. ABC took out advertisements looking for military funerals that were taking place on the 20th so they could discuss that during the ceremony. The Washington Post had pages of coverage of “protests” that statistically didn’t exist. Good Morning America’s lead story on January 20th was a servicemen’s mother who was against the war. Whenever some idiot started screaming some conspiracy theory from the cheap seats I would witness the media embark in an all out sprint in an effort to get a picture and a quote. The endeavor to manufacture a non-existent story was both appalling and comical. When speaking with other talk show hosts on radio row later in the day their reaction was outrage. I wasn’t surprised in the least.
DESTRUCTION AND COVERUPS
On my way home from the Independence Ball Thursday night around 11:30 PM I encountered a disgusting scene that I hadn’t seen since the anti-war protests in New York back in 2002. I have witnessed protests and acts of civil disobedience gone wrong but this one took the cake. Not far from my hotel near DuPont Circle there is an area filled with restaurants, taverns, clothing stores and cafes. As I approached this area I noticed that police cars were everywhere with their flashing lights illuminating the night. As we got closer I asked to get out of the taxi and went to see what all the commotion was. What I saw was smashed windows, graffiti painted store fronts, and about one hundred police in riot gear. Police were rounding up and arresting approximately 40 children. Kids! Kids with braces, expensive outdoor clothes, and a nasty attitude decided to take out their misguided frustrations on small businesses. Where in God’s creation were these kids’ parents? These were well off kids, High school kids, out destroying property on a school night, I was disgusted. Talk Show Host Michael Savage calls has a descriptive phrase for parents that allow this type of behavior, he calls them “red diaper, doper, babies.” A police officer told me that the kids were at some concert sponsored by an anarchist group and none other than our old nemesis Moveon.org. It is interesting that the media is all too eager to cover these “protesters” when chant “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho,_______,” or burn pictures of George Bush. When they destroy property, hurt the livelihood of innocent people, spit and swing at the police the story is ignored. The media was there, reporters from television and print, they just decided not to cover it.
Ugly, on so many different levels.