Here we are. Donald Trump is America's president. The largest protest in American history greeted his first day. Welcome to Washington and the USA in 2017.
Our weekend was momentous
Two days, two gigantic events.
As inaugurations go, Friday's was noticably small. But even a small inauguration is big enough to change the tone of city life.
Security fences partitioned blocks of downtown, and an army of police forces dominated the streets. Many locals stayed away to avoid the logistical and emotional headaches. Parts of the city became eerily dead, while others burst with unusual life, as Trump supporters descended to hotels and tourist areas around the White House.
Washington became a foreign city, its own residents outsiders to a security and tourist project to which we didn't belong, nor feel healthy within.
During the inauguration itself, Metro ran smoothly. Trump presented a bleak picture of America. Protests raged, mostly peacefully, sometimes not. GGWash's own David Whitehead proved that deescalation works.
We went to bed, unsure the country we would wake to find.
In contrast to Friday, Saturday's Washington felt more ours than ever. The city became strangely joyous, as march-goers spread over downtown and the National Mall to reclaim our public spaces, replacing the inauguration's fenced-off security apparatus with revelry lasting well into the evening.
We went to bed with renewed determination.
The policy fights are just beginning
Trump may be the most urban president in history, but his party and his base are vehemently anti-urban. Administration policy seems to be largely under the purview of Vice President Pence, whose small town Indiana roots are decidedly not urban.
They plan dramatic cuts to many federal departments, including the Department of Transportation, where multimodal infrastructure spending will likely decline in favor of tax breaks for construction firms. The Environmental Protection Agency is likely to be gutted, enabling a new round of urban pollution and ending the fight against climate change. HUD raised prices for first-time homebuyers within an hour of Trump's swearing-in. The Department of Justice will no longer pressure police departments over civil rights.
Locally, such massive cuts and a proposal to strip benefits from government employees could throw Washington's economy into recession, as jobs bleed out of the city. Or security and military spending could lead to a new boom. Either way, Congress' small government Republicans will override local decision-making in DC.
Nationally, the right is emboldened, while the left is beginning to act like a true opposition.
So, here we are. Donald Trump is America's president. The future of our city and our country is uncertain. We face colossal challenges. But GGWash's mission and values are still worthwhile, and our community is as strong as ever. We'll be here.