Blog: Inauguration January 04, 2009

Vicki Felmlee’s inauguration blog starts Monday at

It is 1972. The controversy over the Vietnam War is reaching fever pitch.

In partial response, the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is passed, allowing 18-year-olds the right to vote. (“If they can be drafted and die for their country, they can vote ...”)
George McGovern wins the Democratic nomination.

I’m in my second year of college. This is the first year I can vote. I step into the booth and pull the lever for ... Richard M. Nixon.

For the next 20 years I became extraordinarily apathetic about politics, especially national politics, and you all know why.

I continued to vote, of course, but there certainly wasn’t the verve, the élan, the ... oh, heck, I simply didn’t really care.

After all, why should I? I had squandered my first vote.

In the early ’90s I got a fever, figuratively speaking.

I have always been a bit involved in community “stuff” and was persuaded by a few “wired” politicos that one experience ever so many years ago shouldn’t jade me completely.

Thus buoyed, I ran for state office in 1996 and got enormously trounced.

Funny, my fever went away that election night. Are you seeing a pattern, here?

Fast forward to 2008. I continued to stay active in community stuff, but not so much in politics. I manned phone banks in 2004 and again last year , but that’s about it.

My son, Bill, campaigned hard for Hillary Clinton, but came around eventually for Barack Obama. Although I was ready to support Hillary, there was just something about that guy from Chicago. He caught my eye early, and I never really looked away. I bought Obama stickers, magnets, shirts, posters, whatever.

Gee, here’s a thought: Maybe the economy’s so bad today because so many of us spent all our $$$ on Obama stuff.

My son lives in Virginia with his wonderful wife Donna and (warning: Granny moment surfacing) my incredibly brilliant 4-year-old grandson, John Paul.

Bill has been “back East” in various locations for almost two decades now. Since he went to college in the Washington, D.C., area, my husband, Tom, and I have visited him at least a couple dozen times. We have roamed from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, from Maryland to the Outer Banks. It is almost a second home.

So there I was, Nov. 4, settled in my easy chair flipping through TV channels. At 8 p.m. or so, MSNBC and CNN rolled it up on the TV screen. Obama will be the next president of the United States.

I started to cry. My husband even began to well up a bit. As I watched the impromptu celebrations in New York, D.C., Los Angeles, and the not-so-impromptu one in Chicago, I said to Tom, “Wow, that would be great, to be there ... but here I am, warm and comfy in my easy chair.”

He said something like, “You think those crowds are bad, think of when he gets sworn in.” And my thoughts continued to trail, “Yes, and I’ll be here, warm and comfy, flipping through TV channels, watching it all.”


I could be there. Inauguration Day.

Ten minutes later I had my ticket reserved on The next morning, I called my son and daughter-in-law and invited myself to their home. Fortunately, they took it well.

The next big step was trying to get tickets to the event.  Soon I was on waiting lists with both Rep. John Salazar’s and Sen. Ken Salazar’s offices, and I also hit up Senator-elect Mark Udall.

The countdown began, along with the various nerve-wracking news reports:

“Tickets are free; if you’re buying them, you’re getting scammed!”

“All of the tickets will be gone by the end of November!”

“Tickets will not be handed out until the first week of January!”

“Forget it, you don’t need tickets, the Mall will be open to anybody!”

“Well, you need tickets if you want to be within half a mile of the ceremony ... otherwise, you don’t need tickets. Does this make sense?”

Two weeks ago, Rep. Salazar’s office e-mailed me: we’ll have tickets, waiting at his office to pick up Jan. 19.

Yeeeeaaaaaahhh! A little victory dance was in order.

So I and 3 million — or 4 million, no wait, it’s down to only 1.5 million as of this writing
— Americans will be at the D.C. Mall, Jan. 20 .

It will be cold, it might be raining, it might be snowing. My son will be with me throughout much of it. He’ll be my “valuable resource” since he’s been to an inauguration and knows a little of what to expect.

And through the magic of the Internet and the kindness of the folks at The Daily Sentinel, I’m taking you along, vicariously, from the warmth and comfort of YOUR easy chair.

Bloguration, my daily diary, will feature interviews, pictures, thoughts and observations of this whole spectacle from a groundhog’s eye view.

I promise not to make it too partisan, unless it’s germane to the thought of the day.

I’ll try to answer as many of your questions as possible, including the big one: Why am I doing this? I really don’t quite know the answer to that, yet, but perhaps in three weeks I will.

You’ll also be able to post comments; please keep them clean and not too partisan. This will be
very difficult for some of you. No, I haven’t forgotten that the president-elect got slightly more than 374 votes in Mesa County.

Whatever you post goes immediately live. It is permissible to use the now-fashionable and politically correct substitutes bleep, bleeped or bleeping, but try to keep them to only three or four in a sentence. You don’t want to sound silly.

I’ll delete only the comments that are seriously profane or obviously libelous. Children will be reading.

Bloguration starts Monday . Just go to It’ll be easy to find.

P.S. — Whatever your proclivities, this is historic.

Many of you remember the night of July 16, 1969. The first man on the moon. The grainy but mesmerizing pictures. The words, “One step for man ... .” Walter Cronkite taking off his glasses as his eyes misted up.

So, can anybody tell me where Cronkite has been the last two months?


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