My wife, daughter, and I had the privilege of going to the Inauguration of George W. Bush in 2004. It was a cold day with about five inches of snow on the ground.
There are several things I remember about the experience. I remember the inclement weather, the vast number of people, the poor vantage point I had to view the proceedings on the platform of the Capitol. I remember the sense of patriotism the event evoked.
However, the thing I remember most was the vehement and profane rhetoric coming from thousands of protesters on the sidelines as the police directed us toward the site of the inauguration.
Even though there were barricades between the protesters and us, I felt threatened by their obvious hostility and antipathy. I had never seen such pent-up anger and animosity as I did that cold wintry day.
From all reports the inauguration of Donald J. Trump and Mike Pence may induce a firestorm of protests – more than any inauguration in recent history. The nation is divided. The hotly contested campaign created even more tension and disunion.
Dozens of groups (99 in all) have announced rallies and protests before, during, and after the event.
On Inauguration Day, the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition will stage a “mass protest” against Donald Trump. Other groups holding marches include the Occupy Movement, the Democratic Socialists of America, and #DisruptJ20, a group that wants to shut down the inauguration.
The Women’s March on Washington alone is expected to draw as many as 200,000 attendees. Their stated mission is to stand up for “immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQI, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, and survivors of sexual assault.” While their stated method of protesting is nonviolence, Washington is bracing for those who may not adhere to the same principle.
The Washington Post reported that parking restrictions begin Wednesday in downtown Washington and streets will start closing on Thursday.
According to the Post, “The nation’s capital will quickly transform into a virtual fortress of roadblocks, fences, and armed police. Streets will be barricaded with trucks filled with sand. Five Metro stations will close Friday. Crossing Pennsylvania Avenue will be next to impossible.
“The peaceful transfer of power is made possible by overlaying a tight security grid using 28,000 security officials over 100-square-blocks of prime downtown real estate – from the White House to the Capitol and beyond, with a price in the tens of millions of dollars.”
Brian Ebert, the Secret Service special agent in charge of the Washington field office, explained, “We’re constantly adapting, evolving, and enhancing our protective methodology to protect against emerging threats. We are monitoring our adversaries, paying close attention to their trends and tactics.”
On Aug. 11 Donald Trump met with 700 evangelical leaders in Florida and requested prayer from Christians across the nation. One pastor prayed for him and this is the prayer he prayed:
“God, we are asking You now for renewed strength and wisdom, and protection over the Trump family and all those who are connected to them. I pray, Lord, that you give them clarity and wisdom. I pray, Lord, that you give them a new revelation of the work of the cross and the power of the resurrection.
“We ask, Lord, for a manifestation of your presence that is so real, that Lord, he will hear from You with clarity and precision. Lord, we know this is a critical juncture for the battle of the soul of this nation. And we believe that the heart of this nation is in your church. May you awaken the hearts of the nation — your church — for a healing of the soul of this nation. God, we ask you to go before the Trumps and be their guard.”
That would be a good prayer for each of us to pray for our new president and vice president.