Last night, Tacoma celebrated Inauguration 2008 at parties all over town, including the event at The Swiss last night, hosted by Pierce County Democrats and the People for Justice, Peace, and Healing, with music from The Disclaimers. Igneous Rocks knows most of The Disclaimers, so we canceled practice and hied us over to The Swiss about 5:30pm. Not a moment too soon! Seating was already nonexistent, but we staked out a counter to lean on and enjoyed the festivities from a very decent vantage for short people (of which we have many. Well… a few. Ok, we found a place where me and Stevie could see…).
Some local bloggers felt overwhelmed by Obama-sign-carrying “white democrats over 40.” But our 20-, 30-, 40- and 50-something crowd found it a pleasantly mixed bag.
Yes, there were Obama signs in abundance, and the afore-mentioned white democrats over 40. What do you want? The Swiss old-school decor is pretty friendly for all legal-drinking ages, and The Disclaimers have a fairly established following that dig on their folky, funky, groovy covers of pre-seventies tunes.
The only slight hiccup occurred about 6:30 pm. They started playing the pre-recorded broadcast of the inauguration ceremonies. “Oh good,” said a 20-something next to me, “I couldn’t watch this morning, and I’ve been waiting all day to see the whole thing!” A couple 30-somethings around us agreed, and the crowd quieted down to watch and hear the pre-ceremony prayers, special music (fantastic composition of “Air, Simple Gifts,” by John Williams! Fred, let me know when you find that on iTunes), and swearing in.
And then… someone got on stage and started talking. I’m sorry to report that some people got just a touch rowdy. Some people joined in a short-lived chant, “Speech! Speech!” The organizers of this event, who no doubt worked very hard and certainly deserve some respect Just. Kept. Talking. While our brand new president was giving his first official address to the American people. Some people hollered: “We want to hear the speech! Let the man talk!” It really was the worst timing ever.
The small moment of unrest was over pretty shortly. The organizer explained that they hadn’t actually planned on showing the inaugural speech (uhhh… at the inauguration party?), and would we please chill for a minute because she was going to ask us a question. We chilled. “Would you like us to hold off the band for 19 minutes to play the speech?”
The crowd cheered and whooped and whistled. The singer of the band—waiting graciously on the stage through all this—very graciously proclaimed “The People have spoken!” And they played the speech. When the band came on after the speech, some rowdy people made sure to holler just as much for them. And then they danced. A lot.
Whoever they were, those slightly rowdy 20-somethings want you to know that they meant no disrespect. They really enjoyed it all thoroughly. They were caught up with an unexpected wash of patriotism that sweeps through an inspired room. Even with all the over-40 white democrats.