Thoughts on Inauguration Weekend


Many friends are in DC for the weekend. They are not there to attend inaugural balls and galas. To each of them, and to other friends who marched in Portland, Walla Walla, San Francisco, Atlanta, and elsewhere across the country, I say, thank you.

This morning I set out for Trader Joe's around 10. My route took me past the Hollywood Transit Center MAX station entrance on the I-84 overpass. Already women, men, and children, some in strollers, were queued up on a cold, rainy day to purchase fares for the ride downtown to participate in the Women's March at noon in a show of pink pussyhats, anti-Trump signs, and good humor coupled with determination to make a statement. Even a passerby could sense an inspiring spirit of solidarity and commitment. How might we marshal the spirit on display today to preserve and promote values that represent what is best in the idea of America?

“What we have to do is make sure it becomes an activist, everyday movement that keeps politicians accountable. The key is to turn it into work that leads to elections,” said former Secretary of State John Kerry, making a brief surprise walk through the Washington rally, his dog in tow, on his first day since leaving the State Department. “A lot of people are going to be working on that.” Edward Isaac-Dovere and Elana Schor, Will the women’s march be another Occupy, or a Democratic Tea Party?)

With attendees of the Women's March on Washington packed onto the National Mall and the original march route along Independence Avenue, some protesters made their way to Pennsylvania Avenue in order to march past Trump International Hotel toward the White House.

As the marchers made their way uptown Saturday afternoon, they broke out in chants like "Thanks, Obama" and "Yes we can!" (Caitlin MacNeal, Women's March Attendees Shout 'Shame' As They Pass Trump's DC Hotel)

I feel young. When I was young, we were always winning things in this country. Would win with trade. Would win with wars. And at a certain age, I remember hearing from one of my instructors the United States has never lost a war. (Donald Trump, quoted in Lauren Fox, Trump Makes Bizarre Courtesy Call At CIA Headquarters)

Trump was born in 1946. When he was young, that would be the 1960s and '70s, wouldn't it? The war would be Vietnam. I do not know that we count that one as a win.

The intelligence community's reaction to the new president continues to be, shall we say, interesting. This observation from Lauren Fox at Talking Points Memo in the piece cited earlier:

It was a strange juxtaposition: a President, standing before the memorial wall at the CIA that honors the lives lost by agency officers as he talked about crowd size and his intelligence. According to the pool report, there were about 400 CIA employees at the agency Saturday. At first, the cheering came from across the crowd, but the pooler noted that as the speech continued, the senior officials in the front grew "subdued."

Nahal Toosi at Politico reports that intelligence community fears the new administration's pro-Russian stance and the risk that an undisciplined president with a disconcerting habit of speaking off the cuff might blurt out information best kept confidential could make foreign intelligence agencies wary of sharing intelligence with the U.S. (U.S. spies fear allies will stop sharing intel under Russia-friendly Trump).

My new passport arrived in Friday's mail. Good timing, n'est-ce pas? Should I read something into it?

Memo from the Editorial Desk

Once again your intrepid scribe succumbed to a compulsion to revise that is little shy of pathological. Minor, nonsubstantive edits were made after this piece was published.

#CurrentAffairs

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David Matthews

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