Waldlaw Blog

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Checking in From DC

My son and I made it to DC today. We took the red-eye to New York, then flew on to Baltimore this morning. It is a balmy 9 degrees here, which sent us scurrying to REI to stock up on more warm clothes. But already at the Baltimore-Washington International airport this morning you could feel the excitement in the air – especially when folks around us waiting for baggage (and I do mean waiting – it took almost as long for our baggage to come out of the chute as it had taken us to fly in from JFK airport) put 2 and 2 together at the Delta baggage claim, and figured out that the older African American gentleman who had just asked me if I knew on which carousel the bags from Atlanta could be found was none other than Congressman John Lewis, a true hero of the civil rights movement. The sense of camaraderie at the airport this morning reminded me of only one prior travel experience – going to the Gay Games in Vancouver (the last time I went, before my partner and I started having kids). On that trip, there was a strong sense of identification and excitement as arriving athletes and fans began to congregate at the airport. This was like that, but even more so, as folks arrived from all parts of the country to participate in this historic weekend. And the pride on the faces of many of the African Americans around me – including Congressman Lewis – was, in and of itself, worth the price of the ticket to fly here. After the bruising time we have experienced in the Bay Area since the New Years morning shooting of Oscar Grant, it is wonderful to be surrounded by a sea of faces of all races and colors filled with the joy and hope that this weekend represents.... Tomorrow, we are heading downtown to the Holocaust Museum, and then to the kick-off event for the inauguration, featuring an invocation by the openly gay Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson and concerts by a spectacular line-up of performers including Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, and Bono (apparently you only get to perform at this event if your name begins with "B"). It is absolutely amazing to be here -- and I will do my best to continue reporting daily, to share it with those of you who couldn't make the trip.


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