The White House and DC last night: A contrast between law and lawlessness

Last night, I was privileged to attend the final night of the Republican National Convention as a guest sitting on the South Lawn of the White House.  It was a sultry Washington, D.C. summer evening, and the guests were happy and excited to be there.  But getting there had been a shock.

I was part of the Maryland delegation who had met for dinner at the Willard hotel across the street from the White House.  We were told that the Maryland Republican Party had hired armed security guards to walk us across the street to the White House grounds.  I said I was glad to have the guards since I could hear the screaming mob but was deeply offended that it was necessary to be under armed guard to cross a street in my nation's capital.

During the evening, we could hear the noise from the protesters in the streets as they tried to drown out the speakers.  They seemed to have brought noisemakers.  They were not successful, but it was a constant drumbeat in the background, letting us know that our fellow citizens did not believe that the president of the U.S. should be allowed to present his case for re-election.

I do not know if the television stations showed what happened after the amazing fireworks display.  The entire First Family stayed on the stage and joined with the crowd in singing a medley of traditional American greats like "America the Beautiful" and "I'm Proud to Be an American."  It was wonderful.

And then we left the White House grounds with the intention of going back to the hotel across the street to call an Uber to take us back to the D.C. suburbs in Maryland.  We just had to cross the street, but the police told us it was not safe for us to do that.  Looking to the left, we could see hundreds of screaming angry people.  We followed police directions and turned right — and then walked for over an hour past police at every intersection who said keep walking, you cannot safely walk on Pennsylvania Ave. 


Senator Rand Paul with his armed guards were also swarmed.
YouTube screen grab.

I was not wearing my sneakers.  I had not intended to get in my 10K steps.  My feet were soon covered in blisters.  I was limping shoeless in the D.C. streets.  The Uber I called answered that he could not get to me.  I gratefully thanked the policemen I passed for keeping me safe from the seemingly deranged men and women, black and white, screaming at me, "You look nice in your Nazi reds."  (I was wearing a red silk blouse.)  Of course, they screamed Fascists and F--- you.  They also screamed, "Rednecks, come back when the police aren't here.  We'll take care of you. "

I was probably one of the people who lives closest to the White House, and I could not get home.  At 1:30am, I checked into an expensive hotel for the night.  In the morning when I left, I met several other hotel guests wearing Black Lives Matter tee shirts who were also staying at this expensive hotel.  They were leaving to join the planned demonstrations in D.C. this weekend.

The White House event had shown our democracy at its best.  People gathered joyfully to express their political views.  The streets of D.C. were a nightmare of what is to come: mob rule threatening anyone who dares to hold a different political opinion.  I have never in one night been both so proud of my country and so ashamed of it.  It is a disgrace that that you cannot walk in the streets of D.C. without police protection — that you cannot walk in the streets without being cursed and threatened.

Last night, I was privileged to attend the final night of the Republican National Convention as a guest sitting on the South Lawn of the White House.  It was a sultry Washington, D.C. summer evening, and the guests were happy and excited to be there.  But getting there had been a shock.

I was part of the Maryland delegation who had met for dinner at the Willard hotel across the street from the White House.  We were told that the Maryland Republican Party had hired armed security guards to walk us across the street to the White House grounds.  I said I was glad to have the guards since I could hear the screaming mob but was deeply offended that it was necessary to be under armed guard to cross a street in my nation's capital.

During the evening, we could hear the noise from the protesters in the streets as they tried to drown out the speakers.  They seemed to have brought noisemakers.  They were not successful, but it was a constant drumbeat in the background, letting us know that our fellow citizens did not believe that the president of the U.S. should be allowed to present his case for re-election.

I do not know if the television stations showed what happened after the amazing fireworks display.  The entire First Family stayed on the stage and joined with the crowd in singing a medley of traditional American greats like "America the Beautiful" and "I'm Proud to Be an American."  It was wonderful.

And then we left the White House grounds with the intention of going back to the hotel across the street to call an Uber to take us back to the D.C. suburbs in Maryland.  We just had to cross the street, but the police told us it was not safe for us to do that.  Looking to the left, we could see hundreds of screaming angry people.  We followed police directions and turned right — and then walked for over an hour past police at every intersection who said keep walking, you cannot safely walk on Pennsylvania Ave. 


Senator Rand Paul with his armed guards were also swarmed.
YouTube screen grab.

I was not wearing my sneakers.  I had not intended to get in my 10K steps.  My feet were soon covered in blisters.  I was limping shoeless in the D.C. streets.  The Uber I called answered that he could not get to me.  I gratefully thanked the policemen I passed for keeping me safe from the seemingly deranged men and women, black and white, screaming at me, "You look nice in your Nazi reds."  (I was wearing a red silk blouse.)  Of course, they screamed Fascists and F--- you.  They also screamed, "Rednecks, come back when the police aren't here.  We'll take care of you. "

I was probably one of the people who lives closest to the White House, and I could not get home.  At 1:30am, I checked into an expensive hotel for the night.  In the morning when I left, I met several other hotel guests wearing Black Lives Matter tee shirts who were also staying at this expensive hotel.  They were leaving to join the planned demonstrations in D.C. this weekend.

The White House event had shown our democracy at its best.  People gathered joyfully to express their political views.  The streets of D.C. were a nightmare of what is to come: mob rule threatening anyone who dares to hold a different political opinion.  I have never in one night been both so proud of my country and so ashamed of it.  It is a disgrace that that you cannot walk in the streets of D.C. without police protection — that you cannot walk in the streets without being cursed and threatened.