Hello, everyone! I’d first like to start off by saying thank you to all of you who have been keeping up with my blog since I’ve been in Washington D.C. I had a wonderful, rewarding experience that was made possible by Arkansas Tech University’s generosity and eagerness to provide for their students.
On Friday, I woke up at 4 a.m. to start getting ready to attend the inauguration, because the gates opened at 6 a.m. Once I got through security and to my spot in the “Blue West Standing” area, it was only about 6:45. For the time remaining until the ceremony began at 11:00 a.m., a friend and I had to stand firmly in the same place so we wouldn’t be pushed out of our spots by others who were equally restless. Once the inauguration started, elected officials from the House and Senate filed into their seats, along with state governors, and former presidents with vice presidents. It was incredibly exciting to see so many influential leaders all in the same place, but there was one thing I couldn’t help but notice. The crowd was incredibly interactive with the speakers, but not all of the attendees were respectful in the way that they chose to interact. Some cheered and applauded in approval of the different speakers at the inauguration, including President Trump. However, for the most part, I was surprised at the amount of booing and negative disruptions that arose in discontent towards those who spoke. For example, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived, the majority of the crowd booed until she was noticeably uncomfortable. When Senator Bernie Sanders was ushered to his seat, the crowd roared in disapproval yet again. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer was booed during his speech to the point where I couldn’t even hear the words he was trying to say, and he has come forward saying that this speaks poorly of the inauguration crowd. When Barack and Michelle Obama made their appearance, people continued the trend of monotone booing. This is something that has bothered me since the ceremony. Freedom of speech is a vital element of the Constitution that defines and governs the United States, and voicing one’s disapproval of the government has always been a key component of it. However, it was hard to wrap my mind around the number of people in the crowd that were being outright disrespectful to not only elected officials and the former President of the United States, but to the Democratic process in general. One of the proudest elements of the American political process is the peaceful transfer of power, and that’s something that I thought would be fairly visible across the board. As far as President Trump, the Obamas, and the other people in the spotlight, it was self-evident. Regardless of their differences in ideologies, these individuals were able to save face and act respectful towards one another for the sake of peacefully transferring power. A particularly dynamic portion of the crowd, however, was not as dedicated to this cause.
As the inauguration continued, Trump and Pence were both sworn in and everything operated smoothly from there on out. I was so fortunate to be able to attend the inauguration, and it is something that I will never forget. This entire seminar has been an invaluable learning experience, and I couldn’t be more thankful for it. It opened my eyes to a different perspective on several key policy issues, taught me things I had never learned about the inaugural process, and exposed me to real-world situations that showed me how certain things are in actuality rather than ideally. I had the time of my life, and I will never forget it. If you are a college student and you are ever given the opportunity to participate in something like this, I would highly recommend doing so. You should always pursue you dreams, which internships and seminars help with tremendously. Thank you all again for keeping up with Allison and I, we had a blast!