Sunday, 18 January 2009
There will be plenty of footage from Washington over the next few days and many areas will be blocked to anyone without VIP access or tickets to a relevant event. In my experience, the US services are efficient at managing space in cities and operate one-way valves to let people move away but not to re-enter areas. I've been crowd controlled in a few places, including Times Square with Mel for New Year a few years ago.
Instead of my usual ten minutes, I've spent an enjoyable half hour uploading a few of my pictures from wandering an early morning Washington, where such meanderings are something I enjoy in many big cities if I get a chance.
There are parallels being drawn for Obama with what Lincoln said and did when the America was still in the process of uniting, some mere 87 years after the founding fathers created the new nation and saw off we Brits. Lincoln described it as conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Lincoln was dealing with the American Civil War and his Gettysburg address was about testing of the durability of a nation conceived and dedicated in such conflicted circumstances.
My own wanderings in D.C. will always take in the Viet Nam Memorial, and the more recently created World War II Memorial which I think opened in around 2004. These symbols of struggle are all within easy walking distance of the White House in the central area close to the Reflecting Pool. My first trip ever was with Steve and we did the tour at around midnight in a helpful taxi. Subsequently I figured the easy grid and oblong nature of much of the main area.
As Obama moves into the White House, it will be interesting to see what commentary he imparts on the past, the struggles and the exceptional energy now dedicated towards the solving some of the current conflicts, challenges and uncertainties towards the future.
To précis Lincoln's words: "It is for us, the living, to be dedicated to the unfinished work which others have thus far so nobly advanced."
And, pointedly, that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Obama has the support of most people for change and seems to realize that he holds fates beyond his shores in his early moves.