Me being Patriotic.

And just to prove that I was, in fact, on the National Mall (in case you didn’t believe me), have a photo.

Me

Me, waiting for the inauguration to start. I didn’t know Ash was taking this picture, otherwise you would have gotten more of a smile from me. It was a cold day, but I was warm for the most part and the day was sunny and blue and beautiful. Yes, it was worth it. (Note the red, white, and blue scarf – see, I was patriotic!)

The Inauguration Experience.

Lots of people

I was there. Actually, we were on the right side of the mall where this picture was taken, near the Natural History museum. The number of people there was absolutely incredible. And, predictably, it was chaotic.

We left Crossville, TN at around 7pm on Monday and drove 9 hours throughout the night, arriving at the metro station in Fairfax, VA at about 4 in the morning. Actually, we arrived to the exit ramp for the metro at 4 and it took us an hour and a half to actually get a parking spot, it was that backed up (at 4 am!). We stood in line for awhile to get into the station and even longer while waiting for a train. When we did finally get onto our train, it broke down two stops later and everyone had to get off and wait for another train. Despite it being so ungodly early in the morning, everyone on our car was so excited and happy and willing to help each other. We all joked about the train and when we got back on our train car, people broke out into the Star Spangled Banner and cheered.

We got off our train just off of Virginia Avenue in DC and walked the couple of miles to the National Mall. There were so many people everywhere and the energy everyone gave off was one of excitement and hope and pride for the changes that were coming. Ash and I walked down the center of Independence Avenue holding hands with no fear, and I was just in awe of all the historic architecture and museums and impressive buildings. People looked at each other excitedly, strangers became friends with just a smile, and there were pictures of Obama around every corner.

The national mall was packed even with two hours to go before the inauguration started. Two million people were milling around the mall, talking and screaming and shouting and beaming happily, and cheering every time Obama’s face appeared on one of the many Jumbotrons. After much tramping around to get a good spot, we found a clear space off to the side by some trees just outside of the Natural History Museum. It wasn’t long after this that the event was kicked off by the US Marine Band and the San Fransisco Girls and Boys Choirs and Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Rick Warren gave the invocation after the senator spoke, and I went into that speech with every bone in my body ready to hate it. Surprisingly, I was impressed and found myself really appreciating what he was saying. I can’t help but wish that he would take his own words to heart when he so passionately spoke about equality for all citizens, but maybe his relationship with Obama will help change his mind, and his heart. I thought it was a very moving speech. Aretha Franklin sang after that, beautifully, and and then Joe Biden was sworn into office. A large cheer went up over the crowd after that and the positive tension rose as the crowd knew that we were getting closer to the big moment. Only minutes until we had a new president.

The anticipation grew as Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero, and Anthony McGill performed a soul-inspiring song composed by John Williams (the man!) called “Air and Simple Gifts.” It was beautiful and there were people all around me with tears in their eyes.

And then the big moment. The president elect stood up before the citizens of America and recited these words:

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

The President

After Obama said that last word, the crying and applause rang out over Washington DC and a million tiny American flags were waved in the air as every single person there celebrated the new president of the United States (okay, so maybe those weren’t the exact words he spoke – but that’s not his fault and he did say them right later). I’m pretty sure that after this, not many people payed attention to what anybody else said into the microphone after Obama gave his inauguration address (which, while it wasn’t his best speech, it was still a good one). Elizabeth Alexander read a poem (rather badly) and Joseph Lowery gave the benediction. The event ended with the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters singing the National Anthem. By that time though, we were trying to get off the mall.

Everything kind of went downhill from there. Really, the problem was completely caused by the lack of organization that the cops and volunteers at the inauguration had. Most of the streets had been shut down for security and the parade (which we didn’t see at all), and the few exits they had were packed. Two million people wandered aimlessly around the mall and the streets and under bridges and on top of overpasses and nobody knew where they were going. The sun was going down and it was getting colder and for almost five hours we looked at maps and streets and tried desperately to find a metro station to get out of the city. They closed down many stations because they were packed or just not working and when we finally found the station we had arrived on, we waited in line for over three hours. It was cold, we hadn’t slept or had any food for over 24 hours, and we were miserable.

But throughout it all, every person we met and talked to remained in good spirits. Everyone, no matter who they were, was willing to put themselves out there to help a complete stranger. At one point, my Social Anxiety Disorder kicked in and I had a nervous breakdown in the middle of a plaza while being shoved from all sides. I lost it and couldn’t think straight and the next thing I knew, a woman had grabbed my arm and was quite literally line-backing people out of the way to get me to an opening. She kept asking me if I was okay and waited until Ash and Winnie and her mom found me again. It was scary, but everyone was so nice and calm and trying to make sure everyone else was okay. The spirit of the day had filled every person there and it was truly inspiring.

After we got into the metro station, we got onto a train relatively fast (though Ash nearly got smashed as the doors closed because we jumped on at the last minute) and ended back in Virginia where we started. It was almost unreal getting into our car and driving home – had we really just gone through all of that? Where we really there with all those people? It was insane, chaotic, and amazing. I switched back and forth for a long time whether it was worth it or not, but you know what, how could it not be when we actually got to be there to witness history in the making?

Barack Obama is our new president and already he is coming through on so many of his promises. Check out this site that Ash found earlier: Politifact Truth-o-Meter. It keeps you up-to-date with Obama’s promises and what he is continuing to do for our country. I’ve never really been that patriotic, but for the first time, I actually see a reason to be excited for where America is going. We can do this and we will. Things are going to be better than ever.

At Work

Of course, not all is good and we still have a lot of improvements to make. I was vastly disappointed when I read this blog article about the trash left on the mall. I mean, come on people. Clean up after yourself – isn’t that one of the biggest things we are suppose to be working for? Jeez.

There’s always tomorrow.

You are so Envious.

I apologize for the lack of posts this week, but it’s been a pretty busy week with hiking, a new puppy, lots of cleaning and laundry, and good food in big towns. But the biggest news is this. You all know what Tuesday is correct?

Good. Now guess where I’m gonna be Tuesday. Yes! That’s correct. Ash, me, and her mom and sister are piling into the car tomorrow and driving the ten hours to Washington D.C. to sit for hours on the National Mall to hear Obama speak and be sworn in as our new President. I am beyond stoked for this and absolutely thrilled that I’ll get to say that I WAS THERE. Seriously. Okay, so I won’t actually see Obama (or the parade, or any cool people, or the White House really), but I’ll be THERE. And that’s what counts.

So tonight we’re gonna pack and get everything planned out and pulled together so we’re ready in the morning. Right now I’m tired because of our crazy weekend out in the mountains (beautiful, beautiful mountains) and I’m gonna go eat.

Yay for crazy last-minute historic, life-changing plans!

Give us the Change.

Oh man, everyone in the house is sick with some kind of cold/sinus thing. My throat and ears hurt like all get out and all I want to do lately is sleep. It’s a very miserable feeling. Ash and I did get out and play badminton today, but after awhile I just couldn’t take it anymore and we came inside. I’m ready for a nap now.

The inauguration of Barack Obama is coming up fast. The last few days, we’ve been watching a bunch of different documentaries. One was on what people in different countries think about America’s foreign policy called Internationally Speaking and I highly recommend it. It’s got some really great insight from both in and out of the country. Another one was on Coming Out in different countries, which nearly brought me to tears. Sometimes I take for granted that our country is so much more accepting than most others. Which is sad considering all the things people still say and believe here. Anyway, my point is that I can’t help but feel this overwhelming burden of hopelessness sometimes, but things are gonna change, if Obama keeps his many promises.

“The important thing in life is to try to live and do the best you can,” he says. “We done had it bad. Let us help give our children a better life, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren. Let’s try to give them a better life than we had. But anyway, just keep the good work going, is all I say.”

There was an interesting article over at CNN called “Obama is our Moses”, and if you overlook the flowering descriptions and sickening over-the-top empathy that CNN always pushes onto its readers, it really is inspiring that the man they interviewed has such strong beliefs because of the way he grew up. He’s a man that doesn’t take voting for granted. While I hope Obama keeps his promises for my own selfish reasons, it’s for people like this that I pray even more Obama doesn’t go back on his word. It’s people like this that really need and deserve to experience change more than anyone else. They believe it the most.

On a different note (and back to being selfish and talking about my own interests), I was interviewed by Sylvie at Fuel My Blog about blogging (what else?) and everything it entails. You can find the complete interview on their blog. Check it out!

One more step towards internet stardom.

Obama-inspired.

“The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America — I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you — we as a people will get there.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, the New President of the United States, Barack H. Obama. Change inspires Historic Victory. We will not give up the fight we have only started.

Yes we can. Yes we can.

I’m finally going to bed. Good night. Tomorrow is going to be Bright.

The future is Bright.

I cannot even function right now.

Obama won.

I was on the phone with my mom when CNN projected Obama as President. I lost it and started crying I was so grateful and happy and just a mass flood of emotions. After getting off the phone with her, I turned to Ash and the waterworks turned up. I love her. I love my girlfriend. Things won’t change right away, hell, we don’t even know how much they’re gonna change, but things will get better.

I was a staunch Hilary supporter and found Obama pompous, arrogant, and ego-centric, but he grew on me, especially in the last few months. And tonight, I sat with a blanket wrapped around me, biting my already-too-short nails, and waited to hear the verdict on our future.

There is hope. We did it right.

There is hope.

A Plea to the Powers that Be.

We voted. Have you?

Obama for President. Please let it be. Let it be. Equal rights are too big of an issue for me to want anyone else as President. You would think that more people would believe in it, but they don’t. Sad, but true.

Obama

I don’t want to go four more years feeling like a second class citizen because of my sexual orientation. I don’t want to keep feeling sub-human for loving who I do. I want to be equal. Dammit, I am equal, but is it selfish of me to want everyone else to see me that way? I think it’s my right as a citizen of the United States. It’s my right as a human being.

I want to stand beside my girlfriend, and tell her I love her, and someday say “I Do,” and I want to do it all in my own country if we want, and I want it to be legal. I want everyone to see us as a legitimate couple. It shouldn’t matter, really, but it’s become a matter of face now – I won’t back down and let someone tell me I shouldn’t be allowed the same privileges as a heterosexual couple simply because I’m a woman in love with another woman. I deserve equality. We deserve to be equal.

Obama for President.

Please.

Lesbians for Obama!

Of course I’d be hit with the “No People” bug today. Of all days. A little look into my not-so-secretive personal life: I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder a few years back (among other things). Nowadays, it’s better than what it used to be (I’ve been known to have panic attacks in malls and break down into tears whenever I had to leave the house for school), but I’ll still have my off days, usually when it’s triggered by something. Yesterday, I had a slight break down due to an uncomfortable message I got online, and today I’m having residual feelings of negativity.

What this basically means is that I’m going to have a hard time stepping out of the house and being around people. It’s election day. There’s no way I’m not going in to vote. I’m just hoping that by the time we get there (after noon when Ash gets off for work), people will be too busy registering and voting to look at me, because, really, it’s the looks that set me off. If I notice one person looking at me, I crumble into a pathetic pile of incomprehensible mush. Maybe in the next few hours I’ll be fine again and thing won’t set me off, but we’ll just have to see.

Anyway, I’ve finished my breakfast of strawberry yogurt and pinapple, and I’m going to try and be productive until Ash gets home. Time for some art!

REMEMBER: GET OUT THERE AND VOTE!