Inauguration Night: From Joy to Violence

An Inauguration choir:  One of the high points
An Inauguration choir: One of the high points

I wish I could say yesterday, with all its disorganization and claustrophobia, was one of the most amazing days of my life.  And it was, until the sun fell, and millions of people packed up their gear and headed home.  I was one of those people.  See, I wasn't able to make it to any of the early events [like The Root's Inauguration Ball] due to technical and professional responsibilities here in Brooklyn, and that bummed me a little.  But I'm a survivor, so I bounced back rather quickly.  Which slides me into this:  Over two hundred people were waiting outside the bus depot on H Street for the 8pm bus to New York City or Philadelphia.   The problem?  The bus only holds 57 passengers and everyone was determined to get home.  It wasn't going to happen.  The bus arrived and people pushed.  They pushed into the door and they pushed into each other.  [And when I say "push" I mean "shove" and when I say "shove" I mean "aggressively"].  The bus driver, as well as the bus company's "people", assured the very cold and irritable crowd there were two more buses for the same destinations right behind that one.   The crowd didn't care, or believe.  They had their minds set on that 8pm bus to drop them off at home at 11pm [no ifs, ands, or buts].   So they pushed so more.  They pushed onto the bus.  They knocked down elderly women.  A man literally slapped a woman in her face and she broke out in tears.  Two adult men, donned in Happy Obama gear, were ready to cut each other's throats.  Another woman, in an attempt to pull her children through the crowd and onto the bus, fell down the steps of the bus and injured herself.  Then a second bus arrived behind the first bus.  And most of the crowd ran to it, pushed open the door and started boarding, without the driver's or company's permission.  Two or three more fights broke out… vicious names were hurled… the police were called… the crowd was ordered to get in a line [and even the police had a hard time making that happen].   My heart broke.   And I mean that.  They forgot about what brought us together in the first place.  President Barack Hussein Obama II.  These people, with violence shivering on the tips of their tongues and fingertips, displayed the type of behavoir one would find at an amusement park—void of intellectual or spiritual empowerment, and simply full of junk.  I don't know if D.C.'s lack of crowd organization is responsble for this, or maybe it was the carnival-like environment with the buttons and hot dogs and foam Uncle Sam hats, or maybe some people are not ready for change.


Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.