The San Francisco Chronicle said it was a day like Woodstock. It was a defining moment, a life-defining day for the millennials. A day that people would tell their children and their children’s children.
In the morning, I went to the San Francisco Library to watch the inauguration in the Koret Auditorium. We waited outside until 8:45 am until they let the people with early admission tickets in.
Once inside, I realized the crowd was different from the typical San Francisco events I attended. Made up of families, African Americans, and the elderly Chinese…it was an experience unlike anything I had experienced. There, they had projected C-SPAN on the large screen. It was slightly fuzzy standard definition—a seemingly hasty connection to a place that rarely showed TV. When Obama appeared, the audience yelled in glee and shouted “Oh yes!” When Bush showed on screen, boos. During Obama’s shaky oath, I turned and saw people twisted in tears, emotion. The Chinese lady next to us had a stony face.
When the oath was over, a well-dressed African American lady turned around and hugged everyone. She smelled of cheap perfume. I couldn’t help smiling as everyone embraced each other even during the awkward speech from the reverend.
A man in front of me kept trying to take pictures of the screen—as if he wanted to capture the moment that he was there. That it was his perspective and only his. Shouts of joy continued as we headed to a nearby room for cake, juice and coffee.
Outside at the San Francisco Civic Center, there was a lot of people milling about. Some in awestruck surprise and true joy. Others…there were still the homeless trying to distribute the Street Sheet which was ignored. Then the people who sat on the sidewalk all day. Nothing changed. Then there were the people with signs and shoe-throwing.