31 December 2006

Taking in a State Funeral

I headed down to the Capitol tonight to see Gerald Ford lying in state. He seemed harmless enough, and probably wasn't a half bad leader, not that I remember or know a lot about the 1970s. I'm fascinated by his role in healing the nation and restoring public confidence in institutions after Watergate though, so perhaps I'll explore that a little, as I have recently taken a shine to issues of national reconciliation.

The whole thing was a touch surreal though. The line was long, but it wasn't too cold out. The thing opened late, of course, but that was fine. The views off the Capitol portico were incredible at night, but I didn't bring a camera with me. Inside the rotunda was incredibly quiet, and even more so when the guard changed just a minute or so after I got in. That was pretty impressive. Six servicemembers walking in as quietly as possible. The whole thing was just so... silent. After the retiring guard marched out, I walked around for another minute or so, then headed out. Again, the views outside were gorgeous. Seems so somber and fitting. I guess that's why they do it though.

Forgive the lack of snark in this post up to this point. I leave you with a conversation I had with a friend following my telling him about going through what I dubbed the "security hut."

chris: do you know when they're going to finish that whole ...billion dollar underground visitors center?
me: oh probably
me: what else would they waste the money on?
chris: well, i mean
chris: they're working on it
chris: have been for years now
chris: but i'm not sure when its going to finish
chris: like, you know the whole east side of the capitol has been "under construction" for them to do it
me: well, i doubt pelosi will allow the continuation of the cheney bunker section
chris: lol
chris: indeed
chris: or the "ronald reagan worship center"
me: and they'll probably take out the "dry ass fucking by the executive branch" exhibit with the change in power
chris: aww. i'm gunna miss that one
me: won't we all
me: i'm sure they'll add a statue commemorating the checks and balances
chris: oh, those were the good old days
me: mmhmm
chris: although seriously, they need to erect a memorial to habeus corpus
me: only if it goes on the ellipse
me: or in front of the justice department
chris: or up bush's ass
me: well, no one would enjoy it that way

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