Lots of people I know are forwarding me emails about various forms of protest centering on the high cost of the planned Bush inauguration.
I think these complaints, while very well-meaning, and fairly well-taken, are not going to have much traction.
There's no doubt that the inauguration preparations are over the top. The idea of closing off a huge part of downtown DC, not to mention the idea of trying first to stick one of the poorest cities in the US with the bill, then deciding to raid the Homeland Security piggyback to pay so-called security costs (which include building bleachers), is ugly.
But the fact is that the country likes a party. Carter didn't win many points for turning down the heat and wearing a sweater. Reagan won points for reigning regally. Bush isn't regal, but unless it's true that 9/11 changed more than the way in which we justify pointless wars and blank checks to federal contractors, I expect relatively few people will get on board this bandwagon…and those cheering the party will see it largely as sour grapes.
So, sorry friends, good luck, and thanks for thinking of me, but I'm going to keep worrying about casualties in Iraq (soldiers, civilians, our money, their infrastructure, our claims to decency, and counting), the fight over social security, and the environment — which has me increasingly worried about both pollution and systemic, tragedy of the commons, issues such as overfishing and global warming. Oh, and nuclear proliferation. And gerrymandering. And election mismanagement and irregularities. And protecting anonymity and free speech. And, sigh, about twenty other things.