Mamas and Grammys taught us to show it, and Aretha taught us how to spell it, R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Anyone considering attending the Inaugural and events surrounding this poignant mark in history were aware of the drones of well-wishers, supporters and students who would be flooding the District. One would hope that those who made the effort to make the journey to D.C. would be so enthralled with the monumental nature of a peaceful change of power that they would themselves remain peaceful.
There are thousands of individuals who experienced a flawless Inauguration experience. There are, however, thousands more who did not share in that same fate.
Today was game day, and mental preparation was imperative for whatever obstacles were to come. Obstacles like “information officials” who were unaware of directions or building numbers, or the overcrowded tunnels that law enforcement continued to send viewers toward. Walking around the entire perimeter as directed by said information and law enforcement officers only to find yourself at the gate of security unable to enter because of a “lack of crowd control.”
I stood looking at the printed cardboard ticket in hand complete with the chairwoman’s signature and thought of all the reasons I could harbor hate or anger toward the process or the people. I then realized, what good does that do? So I kept my mouth shut. Of course I was disappointed to be close enough to feel it and not be granted my perceived right of entrance, but I tried not to let it show. However, I was in the minority.
After acknowledging that my ticket was not truly my ticket to witness history, a fellow student and I headed for the hills after the chants of “let us in” and pushing began to feel like a mob mentality. Our next mission was to identify a location that would become our new ticket to history.
We stopped into a corner Mexican restaurant lined with old 32-inch box televisions. Not wanting to miss a minute of the action we eagerly joined the group of a 100 or so to enjoy the festivities. Shortly after our arrival, President Bush exited the Capitol building and the entire restaurant filled with hair-raising boos and negative borderline degrading digs.
My friend and I stood and looked around in total awe. Regardless of how a person feels about the outgoing Commander in Chief, the man has served selflessly like all of the previous 42 before him. This created a catalyst for my response on America’s cultures lack of respect toward people and property.
Throwing shoes at a man is not ok … Demeaning the elected leader demolishes the meaning of democracy … Thinking completely of yourself with total lack of consideration for those around you is disrespectful.
Somewhere along the way, The Golden Rule was amended to look inward, rebuking the true value of respect.