Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Inaugurations Then and Now: Memories of 2017, 1973, 1961

Massive demos at Nixon 1973 inauguration. I was there but had stepped away to get coffee and just as the guy handed it to me a massive chorus of boos went up as Nixon's car passed by - my friend Lew and I ran out and saw the car heading down the street - we managed a few weak boos, went back to the train and headed back to NY.
Jan. 20, 2021

When you think of it,  every Democratic President from the 20th century to the present has had some tragic elements, with FDR considered the best and most successful, though that too ended in his death. Wilson was fundamentally incapacitated in his final years, LBJ - tragic war, JFK - nuff said, Carter - well - I actually liked him and still do, Clinton, Obama - neo-liberalism reigned and they led to Trump. Well,, Republicans haven't been to great either - Nixon, Reagan ended with Alzeimers, Bush 1 and Bush 2 and Trump. Even back to Teddy - following McKinley assassination - ended up starting a third party in 1912 to defeat his former protege, Taft. They all give me the woolies.

Four years ago we marched with women all over the nation in protest - people were mad but they didn't storm national monuments. I was reminded of four years ago on January 19th with a photo reminder from Facebook of a big anti-Trump rally at his hotel near Columbus Circle a few days before the inauguration on Jan. 19, 2017. That and the massive women's marches a few days later on Jan. 20 were intense but even with all the warning signs I don't think people thought it would turn out even worse than they thought. So much is being written about today I'm going to leave it to others like Patrick at 

Raginghorseblog who has been inspired by recent events to return to blogging

Good Riddance to the Sickness that Is Trump

He other recent piece is

But I wanted to touch on a few other memorable inauguration days I experienced.

The first and most memorable was JFK in 1961. I was 15, a high school junior, and his election was the first time I and many other  young people got interested in

politics. We were bummed we would miss the event  due to school but glory be there was a big snowstorm and we had a snow day after the night before.

Summary of the January 18 - 20th 1961 Nor'easter. › rlx › jan61

January 18- 20 1961. This storm is dubbed the "Kennedy Inaugural Snowstorm" since it occurred on the eve of John F Kennedy's Presidential Inauguration in ...
But the 20th was bright and sunny and very cold. The sun in Washington was also very strong but also very cold and Kennedy stood up straight and strong.
Of course the dream ended less than four years later with the soul crushing assassination. I don't have the heart to do it but juxtapose a photo of the glorious Kennedy at the lectern with the funeral and it still breaks the heart of the nation.

And sort of started us on a road that leads to today. Only 12 years later, I had been somewhat radicalized and Nixon was being inaugurated for his second term. And numbers of people decided to head down to Washington to protest - to throw him a big BOO as his motorcade rode past. Trains were booked but my friend and political mentor Lew Friedman and I secured seats early in the morning and we got there before noon. Crowds were intense - both pro and con - but I don't remember any friction. It as so damn cold and we were standing there for hours waiting for Nixon to go by. We finally decided to jump into a coffee shop on the corner to get some cocoa. Just as the guy handed us our drinks we heard a massive chorus of boos. We ran out to catch a glimpse of Nixon's car halfway down the block. We managed a few loud boos and headed for the train back to NYC. In almost no time Nixon was gone after resigning.

Is my interest in inaugurations bad luck for whatever president? Clinton? Not so great. Obama? Not exactly much of a success. Trump? Even though he won the election bigly - if you subtract the votes of black and liberals and Democrats - he didn't end up too well. So my record is intact and I tried not to pay deep attention to Biden inauguration because I don't want to bring him bad luck.
 Here are some pics of the 2017 events to remind you of the beginning of the bad dream.


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