Generally, in the run-up to a presidential inauguration, the chatter centers on which bands will play at the Inaugural Balls, the placement of jumbotrons for the masses, and the number of port-a-johns that will be needed. However, the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States is shaping up to be an altogether different affair.
According to the Army Times, the “National Guard inauguration deployment is twice as large as troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.” Depending on which source you believe, somewhere between 15,000 – 25,000 guard members will be mobilized for the inaugural festivities. So much for the concern about COVID. Should the military be required to social distance, the line of soldiers could easily stretch into Virginia to the south and Maryland to the north.
However, it is not merely a massive military presence that differentiates this made-for-TV spectacle from the previous inaugurations of U.S. presidents. The transportation and accommodation parameters are, quite frankly, historic.
Thirteen Metrorail stations will be shut down, Amtrak is closed, and Airbnb has canceled all bookings. Washington’s most prominent newspaper reports:
“[A] special security zone went into effect around the White House, the Mall, the Capitol and other key parts of downtown. The security zone will be maintained through Inauguration Day. People entering the perimeter may be subject to security screening and may have to provide proof of their reason for visiting.”
Road and transit changes are designed expressly to keep people out of the District of Columbia. The street and bridge changes are so widespread that those wanting to attend the swearing-in ceremony are finding it virtually impossible. As well, parking garages are closing days ahead of time, and businesses are warned that their delivery trucks will be inspected at an off-site screening facility.
The law enforcement hysteria is not merely due to the recent U.S. Capitol protest. Widespread reports are that a “Million Militia March” of armed “right-wing activists” is being planned for Inauguration Day. The left-wing media claims these people will be “armed demonstrators.” Well, if this is true, there will be no way for these people to enter the nation’s capital, nowhere to stay, and few, if any, places to eat. That appears to be the endgame of inauguration planners: keep the people out.
Even the Proud Boys leader, Henry Enrique Tarrio, has indicated that all this talk of armed insurrection is baloney. But alas, miles of fencing and concrete barriers are going up, making Washington, D.C. look more like an erector set than the capital of the free world.
The inauguration of Joe Biden has the capacity to go down in the annals of American history as the most elitist event ever. Present your credentials. By invitation only. Is this the tableau the Democratic Party wants to set at the dawn of their trifecta of power over these United States? Such as it is, this affair is set to have the look and feel of a military dictatorship, rather than a constitutional republic. If appearances matter – and they do – Democrats may want to rethink things a bit before Wednesday so that the “peaceful transfer of power” is not achieved at the cost of so much liberty.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.