Silent Witness

I could not, would not, watch the inauguration.

I am a second generation, born in Washington, D.C. native. I have attended or witnessed every inauguration since I was a child. They are regal, solemn, joyous, pride-filled, examples of our country at its best. Yes, there have been those that I showed up for to simply protest the incoming administration; Nixon and Vietnam, Bush and Iraq, etc. But I stood witness regardless and somehow hopeful that something good and lasting and better would emerge even from the ashes of the campaigns that I felt we had lost.

This time is different. This time is sadness, fear, and revulsion mixed into a toxic stew of hatred and petty child-like envies and belligerence.

This time is hopelessness on a morals-free parade.

The world feels as if it has paused in its orbit, holding its breath, waiting to see what horror might and will unleash. Like the flash of lighting in a distant storm you flinch and then pause. You wait, counting silently, until you hear the rumble of distant thunder telling you how far away from you the carnage is raging down.

Today we are in the longest pause of our lifetimes, waiting for the unspeakable to be meted out on the unwitting, tweeted out to the unwilling, and finally, exposed and revealed for the fraud that is this new era.

We wait. We wait for the investigations to begin in earnest. We wait for the lawsuits to pile up like mountains of garbage at the local dump only we, the people; we the citizens; we the unwitting and unwilling, will be the receptacles of all that is evil and errant in this so far lack of public policy administration. Yet we know with gloomy certainty of all that is fraudulent and fake, all that is smoke and mirrors, and all that is “other” and awful and yet we know that it is upon us.

I managed to catch President Obama’s final walk to the plane and exit wave to the sad-faced throngs assembles to see them take their gracious leave of us, they’re respectful and yes, adoring, public. The Marines struggled to roll up the red carpet one last time, almost metaphorically stumbling in unspoken uncertainty. The stair-ramp rolled back, the door closed. All final moments, all somehow made more precious and perfect by the fact of they’re coming replacement and its antithetical demeanor. The engines roared to life, the taxi towards the future began as the camera, in silent tribute with no commentary at all, panned left to follow its serene departure.

As it rolled into history, one lonely aircraft technician stood at attention, saluting, silent. The image of this lone figure, not in Marine Dress but airport fatigues, hold strong his hand to his head the entire time the plane was in his view was stunningly, singularly, sad and serene at the same moment.

My eyes filled with tears and, as if on cue, the raindrops melted onto the camera lenses until I could not tell whether the blurred images of silver, blue and white were seen through my own tears or those of a nation in mourning…as shown so perfectly, through the lens of tears on the silent camera. The last witness to history. Our last moment of peace for a long time to come.

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