As much as I would love to be at Barack Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday, the fact is, I cannot handle the crowds. I took my daughter to the Million Mom March in Washington, DC years ago and if there’s one thing I learned that day it’s that being in the middle of 100,000 people is way out of my comfort zone. Plus, there are no hotels available within a 200 mile radius.
So this morning I looked online to see what kind of inauguration parties I could get myself invited to (sadly, I was not invited to any of the some 100 balls given around the country on Tuesday night). Harvard Book Store looks like it’s hosting a pretty cool event but space is limited. I’d go if I thought I could get there early enough and not have to wait outside in subzero temperatures. (A DD coffee and a pair of Cuddle Duds can only keep you so warm.)
I also came across an article that said some local public libraries were hosting events, free and open to everyone. Some were even serving food, which is always a big plus for me. As an active advocate of public libraries, I was impressed that our libraries would play host and encourage people to witness this historic event. But I was not surprised by the heated, angry comments posted to this short little article by readers. Upshot: some people are just not as excited about our 44th president as I am. But there’s also this: People get pissed off when a public institution gives forum to something they don’t agree with.
Why wasn’t this done for Bush (file this under ‘I’ve been living in a cave for 8 years’) and why should taxpayers pay for any of it were the top complaints. First, let’s be clear. It wasn’t done for Reagan, Bush Sr., OR Clinton, either. I suspect it was because there wasn’t this level of interest. This is an historic event. People are pumped. The libraries are leveraging that enthusiasm, as they should. Second, as far as I can tell taxpayers are not footing the bill for these parties. In most communities, it’s funded (and hosted) by local volunteer organizations, such as the Friends of the Library or the League of Woman Voters. Hooray for volunteers.
In cases such as these, too many people think they’re justified in protesting an event because they find the topic personally offensive and use the “taxpayer dollar” as a scape goat. Get over it. Obama is in and I’m watching it at the library.