Thursday, January 13, 2005

Inauguration thoughts

Driving in to work this morning I was listening to PBS radio – yes, I know I said that I stopped watching the news, but PBS usually has interesting stories, and when they get to the war stuff I push the button and move to local commercials – I would say local radio music, but it seems that every time I switch stations it’s commercial time. Anyway, this morning’s main topic was the upcoming inauguration events in Washington. There were interviews with a woman that ran a large hotel in DC, talking about things they were doing. Asked whether they had increased prices for the event she said “Yes, but only about 20%. It’s not price gouging, just charging what the market will bear.” I liked that explanation – it could fit just about anything. I could hear a three year old explaining about why he hit his sister – “well, it’s what the market would bear, she didn’t cry, did she?”
One of the stories was about the parade route, and where protesters would be able to stand and protest. It seems that the National Park Service is the organization that gives out space permits, and of course they give most of the space to the winning party, after all “it’s their event, they deserve the space!” The Washington police seem to have a history of large pre-emptive arrests of protesters at an event, several of which have prompted ACLU lawsuits. So they are preparing for this one.
In speaking to a Republican about one protest group not getting much space the answer was “well, they have aligned themselves with the enemy. It’s like giving Osama Bin Laden space on the parade route!”
Seems kind of paranoid to me, but that is the apparent direction that large parts of the country are moving towards – the ‘us versus them’ philosophy. If you don’t do it the way I am doing it, and don’t feel the way I feel then you must be the enemy. And we’ll pass laws preventing that. Maybe we’ll call it the Patriotism Law, and prosecute people for making signs that say things we don’t want them to say, and then arrest them and make them pay huge legal fees until some stupid right wing judge finds the law unconstitutional. Then we’ll change the constitution. After all, we’ve got God on our side. But that’s another topic.

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