The Purple Ticket Incident


I want to talk about the inauguration. This may not be the proper forum, but I have to express my disappointment. I was fortunate enough to be friends with a Obama campaign staffer and had the opportunity to attend the inauguration with her. Or so I thought. 

We climbed out of bed, two snoozes past 6:30, and braved the cold. Wearing two winter jackets, many layers, and multiple back-ache patches, we embarked on the 20 minute walk to the Purple Ticket Gate. We arrived to find mass chaos: thousands of people, cold, tired and confused. Many of them had arrived much earlier than we had, standing in 17 degree weather, but the wait proved unfruitful. 

Hundreds if not thousands were turned away, their Purple tickets not honored.

I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I am deeply moved that so many people attended the event, sharing my hope, but deeply disappointed that I couldn’t be one of those people. 

More than anything, I’m disappointed for the people I met in line today who traveled great distances. Notably, a tall young man from Albuquerque and his friend from Falls Church, whom were friendly and warm, despite the cold. Marc Fisher, of The Washington Post, wrote this of the purple ticket holders:

“But in a way, it makes perfect sense, because this is one of the happiest crowds I’ve ever seen, and that made them willing–with the possible exception of the Purple ticket holders, mostly high roller donors who thought they had passes to the very front of the crowd–to accept almost any inconvenience.” – Marc Fisher, The Washington Post, Inauguration Day: Birdseye View

Fisher can paint a unsympathetic portrait for these ticket holders, but I know better. I may not have experienced this historic event like I intended to, but at least I had the opportunity to wait for hours in the cold with exceptional people, the purple people. 

To the Purple Ticket people, I salute you.


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