we had a lot of time to think about the inauguration on our way out of the mall … it took us over an hour to go two blocks, and then another couple to get back to civilization (or lunch, at least).

ironically, the thing that stuck with me — more than the speech, the people, the hope — was the complete lack of respect the people on the mall had for the President until around 12:03 pm.

living in my own little world, I’d never really thought it through … sure, he had bad approval numbers, sure my hippie-prog friends had little respect for his policies on, well, anything.

but he was still President, right? i have always firmly believe that you have to respect the office, even if you believe the occupant doesn’t respect the office himself.

there is a basic level of civility that is needed to maintain ourselves as a nation, and violating that civility doesn’t no good in our efforts to establish a new tone of mutual respect in the nation’s Capitol.

now, don’t get me wrong … i didn’t hear anything that wasn’t shouted at Clinton eight years ago, but that’s not the point.

it’s very difficult to take the high road on an inclusive society, when we are exclusive ourselves. in the same way, we can’t fight intolerance with intolerance, regardless of how intolerant we feel the last eight years have been.

i already have conservative friends predicting assassinations, preaching the apocalypse, and plotting out their future lives in foreign countries — which is ironic because the best place for conservatives right now is probably France.

by being intolerant ourselves, we not only excuse this type of behavior, we encourage it. now, i’m about as opposed to neo-cons as anyone, but even I was able to give Bush the benefit of the doubt for his first two years in office.

if we really are going to bring change in Washington, it can’t just trickle down from the top. this started as a grassroots movement, and that’s the only way real change is going to succeed.