Inauguration Weekend in DC - The Nazis are taking notes on the US now
I spent the weekend in Washington, DC for the inauguration of our 45th president, Donald Trump. The day after I marched in the Women's March.
Inauguration Day (Jan 20)
7 am - Woke up and got ready.
I stayed at an appartment at the University of Maryland. It was a short bus to the Metro station. We were surprised to find the metro not busy or packed at all. There were a couple cars full of MAGA hats. We arrived at Union Station and encountered the first group of protestors, the workers socialist group. This theme of extremism in protests held true all day sadly.
We had a couple hours before the main event so we began walking around near the capitol. The crowd was comprised of exactly the people you would expect. Trump support seemed to be about 90% white and spread across all age groups. I felt sorry for the kids under 10 years old with the red MAGA hat with no concept of the man their parents had forced them to support. There were more young white millennials than I hoped. The high school/college age white blonde girl obviously there just for the Instagram picture was also a troubling group I encountered given Trump's comments on women.
The mood overall wasn't excited, or hopeful. After some walking a man approached my group and asked if we wanted a ticket to get in to actually see the ceremony up close. I looked at the line to get in and debated for a second whether I actually wanted to join that crowd of people but eventually decided to take the ticket because the man approached us because he overheard our conversation and saw my enlarged trump tweet sign.
I went through security around 10 am and Trump was not coming out until 11:30. I attempted to just blend in for this time. I felt truly alone in enemy territory. I ended up standing next to two Europian men because they were dressed well and I thought maybe they would be progressive like much of Europe. I had a couple conversations with them and slowly pieced together there actual motives of being in town. I learned that these two men were party leaders of the Freedom Party of Austria, a party formed by Nazis after WWII. In a recent election presidential election the Freedom party lost by just .6% of the vote. The party's success is based around the same populist appeal and anti immigration policy as Trump. I showed the two men the name of the party's leader Heinz-Christian Strache and asked if they knew him, they pointed closer to the capital and said that he was here. This interaction is very troubling, the men spent the whole time observing the crowd and pagentry.
Trump's speech was exactly what everyone expected. A strongman fear monger playing on themes he used throughout his campaign.
After the speech I walked around with this tweet enlarged on a sign
This tweet is a terrifying proposition given that the amount of nuclear weapons in the world could already destroy all of humanity. I chose this tweet because it was more apolitical than some. Trump supporters didn't often understand why I was holding it and they would cheer for it. I spent the afternoon in arguments and some intellectual conversation and went home exhausted.
Women's March - Jan 21
I'm writing this almost a month removed because I got back to school and was very busy.
The Women's March the day after the inauguration felt like an important event at the time. I have never seen more people in my life and probably never will. Now that I have seen the first month of a Trump presidency this event seems less significant but the optimism at this event and the activism since has been uplifting.