In another era, preparations for a presidential inauguration included breathless news coverage of major galas and parties around the nation’s capital.
There were fancy maps, commemorative programs, a rollicking parade, grandstands draped in red-white-and-blue bunting — plus endless fawning coverage of glittering celebrations and celebrity guests. Major hotels and such historic sites as the National Building Museum were lauded for their ambience and style; there was much talk about formal gowns, limousines, speeches, fireworks, cocktails, political gossip, dinner menus, musical acts and dancing.
Not this time around. The riot at the U.S. Capitol has changed the culture of the events in major ways.
An advisory released Wednesday by the DowntownDC Business Improvement District revealed the complexity of street closures during President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s inauguration — along with plans to restrict access to parking lots, loading docks and other locations. The rules go into effect Friday.
The local Metropolitan Police Department also has succinct suggestions for citizens and the sparse populations of visitors who still linger in the city:
“Report suspicious activities. Law enforcement agencies are requesting businesses and residents report any suspicious activities to the MPD. Suspicious activities could include, but are not limited to: graffiti, pamphlets and destruction of items of a political nature. In addition, MPD is requesting property owners preserve video and camera footage to assist in current and future investigations,” the advisory said.
The city’s police force — including branches of federal law enforcement and additional personnel from other cities — will be joined by some 20,000 National Guard troops on Inauguration Day.
A RECOMMENDATION FOR JAN. 20
“Suppose they gave an inauguration and nobody came?” asks Roger Simon, a columnist for The Epoch Times who advises not to protest the inauguration in any way or in any place — and to skip watching broadcast coverage of the event.
“This is the proper way to protest this particular inauguration, a just response to an election with serious allegations of fraud that were never remotely investigated, not even for the paltry 10 days proposed by a handful of senators as a last resort,” Mr. Simon writes.
“A presidential inauguration is a celebration of democracy. There is nothing to celebrate here. The proper visual image of this inauguration should be a cluster of lonely Democrat politicians and their media friends surrounded by — nothing and emptiness,” he says.
“Now is the time for us to organize, to understand on whom we can rely and whom we can’t,” Mr. Simon adds.
‘SUBSTANTIAL CHANCE OF MANY CONVICTIONS’
It’s only been a matter of days since the U.S. Capitol riot, which is now the source of six deaths, huge property damage and incredibly negative fallout for the nation. It will take much time to sort out the facts and tally up the toll on American culture and politics. But what about the legal side of things?
Frederick M. Lawrence, distinguished lecturer in law at Georgetown University Law Center and secretary and CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society — both in Washington — has a few predictions.
“Rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6 could be charged with unlawful entry, curfew violations, and, for some, firearms-related crimes. There are more serious changes that will apply to certain of the rioters as well: assault, aggravated assault, manslaughter, and even murder,” Mr. Lawrence tells Inside the Beltway.
“I think that there is a very substantial chance of many convictions coming out of these events. Prosecutorial offices have devoted significant resources and have access to a large video record of the events,” he notes.
WHAT WE’RE READING AT THE MOMENT
The Amazon list of best-selling books has some revealing new arrivals which reflect a certain mindset among Americans at the moment. George Orwell’s dystopian classic novel “1984” — published in 1949 — emerged at No. 1 this week on Amazon’s list of the top 100 best-sellers.
Yes, it was in first place. But wait, there’s more.
“On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century” — described as “a guide for surviving and resisting America’s turn towards authoritarianism” — is at No. 5. It was penned by Timothy Snyder in 2017.
The aforementioned Orwell’s “Animal Farm” — published in 1946 — is at No. 18 on the list, cited as a tale of a society’s “march towards totalitarianism.”
Coincidence? Not likely.
“Twitter has banned President Trump. Google, Amazon, and Apple shut down Parler, a conservative social media site. No one knows what’s true or false anymore. And the language police are running rampant, with lawmakers on Capitol Hill going so far as to ban words like ‘father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister.’ So, it makes perfect sense that Orwell’s famous book ‘1984’ is once again the best-selling book on Amazon,” writes Joseph Curl in a column for The Daily Signal which examines the implications of this disquieting cultural moment.
The irony that ‘1984’ now tops the best-selling book list was not lost on Amazon users, who filled the comment section with insightful remarks — which Mr. Curl cited.
“A dystopian future in which a totalitarian regime keeps its citizens under total surveillance,” wrote one of the many contributors. “Thought crime, doublespeak, telescreens, depressingly relevant in an age of fake news, identity politics and social media,” wrote another.
Mr. Curl, incidentally, also writes a column for The Washington Times.
POLL DU JOUR
⦁ 38% of registered U.S. voters “strongly approve” of President Trump’s decision not to attend the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden; 46% of Republicans, 28% of independents and 39% of Democrats agree.
⦁ 12% overall “somewhat approve” of the idea; 16% of Republicans, 13% of independents and 9% of Democrats agree.
⦁ 12% overall “somewhat disapprove”; 15% of Republicans, 14% of independents and 9% of Democrats agree.
⦁ 23% overall “strongly disapprove” of the idea; 11% of Republicans, 22% of independents and 32% of Democrats agree.
⦁ 14% don’t know or have no opinion; 11% of Republicans, 23% of independents and 10% of Democrats agree.
Source: A Politico/Morning CONsult poll of 1,996 registered U.S. voters conducted Jan. 8-11.
⦁ Helpful information to firstname.lastname@example.org
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