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Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Difference Two Days Makes

 By Steve Skojec *
As Washington D.C. geared up (or in my case, hunkered down) in preparation for the unprecedented influx of people expected to attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama today, a telling paradox came to light.
Officials estimate at least 1.5 million people are in town for the historic swearing-in of our nation's first black president. Security is tight, with some 25,000 police officers on duty, all bridges into the city shut down to motor traffic, and enforced attendance cutoffs once parade routes reach capacity. The enterprising people of the D.C. metropolitan area capitalized on booked-solid hotels by renting out their homes for thousands of dollars a night to visitors with cash in hand. To be blunt, this city has never seen anything like what is unfolding today.
Absent from all this anticipation is the fact that just two days later, another group of people will be arriving in D.C. They won't have money to spend on hotels, let alone privately rented accommodations, so many of them will get what sleep they can aboard charter buses, stay with friends, or sprawl out with sleeping bags on the hard concrete floor in the basement of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. They are here for a far more important purpose than even this historic election, and in fact many (if not all) of them live in fear of how this 44th American president might worsen the crisis they are coming to protest.  Full story at

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