This weekend, I, a moderately liberal white female law student raised between California and the Midwest who is admittedly privileged in many regards, went to both President Trump’s inauguration on Friday and the Women’s March the day after. Upfront, my experience came with implicit biases. I am not a Trump voter; I attempted to remain unbiased and objective at inauguration, but fully intended on protesting at the march. I consider myself a pragmatist with a love for dialogue; I wanted to talk to people, hear their stories and perspectives, and see for myself what the mood was like between the two very different groups that descended on Washington this weekend.
Official numbers have not been released of how many people attended the inauguration. As of 11am on Friday morning, WMATA had recorded over 193,000 rides for the day. Presumably, not all of those rides were individuals attending the Inauguration, and a portion of inaugural attendees would not have used the metro. My personal metrics say that the size of the crowd was somewhere between being sparse enough where I could have done a cartwheel in any direction without harming anyone, but condensed enough that I easily inhaled a pack of cigarettes via second-hand smoke. However, photos comparing the inaugural crowds during President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, and President Trump’s inauguration went viral not long after the ceremony finished. If you have yet to see them, just know that they were less than favorable for President Trump.
My ticket entrance was on 3rd and Constitution, directly adjacent to Judiciary Square. This was the only location where I personally encountered large-scale protests. As we approached the entrance there were four or so young African-American women chained together and to the metal gates delineating the entrance. They – and the protestors wearing all black in front of them – chanted “This checkpoint is closed” along with a number of other refrains denouncing white supremacy and President Trump. A man from Takoma Park who attended with the protestors said he would have preferred the blockade to have been closer to the gate; further out it served as more of a “spectacle” than to stop Trump supporters from entering the inauguration.