THERE WERE, in the end, protesters along the route of President Bush's inaugural parade. It is conceivable that the president might have even caught a glimpse of them. What there were not nearly enough of, however, were ordinary people: Washingtonians, out-of-towners or anyone at all who was neither a Bush donor with tickets to the bleachers nor a demonstrator with a permit to wave a sign. This was not an accident.
Reports from those who did try to attend varied. Some stood for hours in the cold, trying to get through checkpoints. Some reported swifter entrance. But many, we fear, simply didn't bother to go, discouraged by the unwelcoming atmosphere of the inauguration with the heaviest security in history, the negative advance publicity, the closed streets and the phalanx of police officers lined up to protect the politicians from the people (from us? Why on Earth...? ed.). Maybe that's what the post-Sept. 11 world has to look like, but on a day ostensibly dedicated to the spread of freedom around the world, it wasn't the best advertisement for American freedom either.
So even if you (shudder) like the sonofabitch you couldn't get to see the parade without paying. Americans love parades, and I guess the Chimp-in-Chief has figured out how to make them pay-per-view, the little prick. That Marine Band wasn't paid for by your donors, Georgie.