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I work in downtown Washington, DC, so the occasional Presidential and other big wig motorcade is fairly common.  As I was walking to the subway to go home, I saw my first Obama motorcade.  I was proud, but I also reflected on his new life.

Anyone who works in and around Washington, DC has seen the occasional Presidential or visiting head of state motorcade.  It's always impressive, even if you don't care much for the occupants.  The routine is that the DC police block the cross streets of traffic and a long caravan of DC police and Secret Service vehicles pass by, followed by an ambulance.  My route to the office is just three blocks from the Hay Adams hotel, where the Obamas are staying, and between the hotel and the Capitol.  On the way to the office today, the police were stationed at the intersection, but I did not wait to see the the motorcade pass by.  On the way to the subway last evening, I saw the police get into position again and I decided to wait to for the motorcade.

The police block the north/south streets with their police cars and move into the intersection, clearing all the the cars from the intersection and the cross streets.  All pedestrians are told to stay out of the street.  The few cars parked on the street the motorcade is driving down are told to turn their cars off.  Some pedestrians ask how long they will have to wait to cross the street?

I can hear the sirens of the motorcade coming from the direction of the Capitol.  The first vehicle in the motorcade is a DC police car that stops at each of the three cars parked idling on the street, making sure that their engines are off.  Following this is a group of DC police on motorcycles, and a DC police car or two.  Next comes a group of black Suburbans and Tahoes, followed by a small bus, a DC ambulance and ending up with a Secret Service marked car and a DC police car.  Given the reputation of the DC EMTs, I hope that nothing happens!

I was very proud to see the motorcade, that I dubbed the Obamacade.  Here in DC, we get accustomed to seeing the occasional political and media celebrity.  During the Clinton years, in spite of all the turmoil, at least I had the sense that the government was looking out for my interests.  During the years of the Bushes, and the Reagan years before that, I had the feeling that the opposite was happening.  Now we are in a transition back to a government of the people.  I also reflected on how the lives of the Obamas has changed.  I wondered what kind of person really wants a life where small movements require the blocking of streets?

Harry Truman used to go for walks in downtown Washington.  I once saw Madeline Albright walking down the street while she was Secretary of State, with plenty of protection.  Barack Obama has always seemed like a grounded person, comfortable in his skin and probably a fairly easy person to be with.  He has none of that cockiness that hides insecurity exhibited by George W. Bush - someone who has only known a life of privilege.  Watching the motorcade go by today, I was proud, but also sad for Obama, as he has left his former life behind.

Originally posted to MDMAN on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 02:37 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Trust me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    riverlover, radarlady, FrankieB

    Obama would be much sadder if it was a McCain motorcade going by. Buck up, we've work to do.

    I think McCain must be confused, just because Sarah Palin has experience abusing POWER does not mean she is an expert on ENERGY!

    by mattk on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 02:55:37 AM PST

    •  No kidding (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FrankieB, MTmarilyn

      I can sleep well at night, knowing that we are in good hands.  I have seen Obama grow into this position and it is heartening.  

      Garrison Keillor spoke this morning about Martin Luther King, Jr. not realizing what he has stepped in to with the Montgomery Bus Boycott and whether he was ready for it?   He was ready for it and I think Obama is ready for this.  Bush bumbled his way to power and bungled that power when he had it.  

  •  I realize there are huge (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JG in MD

    security issues (especially w/Obama, given the hideous threats he and his family have received)... but I have to wonder if (a) motorcades are really safer than something less attention-getting and (b) why it is that certain people merit disruptive motorcades. (Obama, yes, but other "dignitaries," not so much.)

    Now I'm curious. I'll have to see if I can find out how much hoo-hah happens when Sarkozy goes from place to place.

    Book excerpts: nonlynnear; other writings: mofembot.

    by mofembot on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 04:18:40 AM PST

  •  PS: Thanks for taking the time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JG in MD

    to write this diary!

    Book excerpts: nonlynnear; other writings: mofembot.

    by mofembot on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 04:19:13 AM PST

  •  Good diary, for it calls to attention... (0+ / 0-)

    ...the dramatic impact of these days on Barack Obama and his family. While these days are no doubt joyous for them, as they realize their personal dreams with the highest possible attainment, that family is also voluntarily walking into a gilded prison. Oh, he (and she) will step out to speak on a programmed basis, to do protected walkabouts, and even (if we're all lucky) campaign for re-election in 2012.  But, it IS a prison they're going into and their life for the next 4-8 years will offer virtually no opportunity for either the wonderful free movement or free speech that the rest of us will go on enjoying. I'm happy for them realizing their dreams and for the country realizing ours, but I'm also a bit sad for them, too. It's not a life I'd choose, for any amount of self glory.

    39 Years Of Yellow-Dogging And Then 1 Year Of WTF

    by Larry Bailey on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 05:47:01 AM PST

  •  Coulda sworn I saw streets blocked (0+ / 0-)

    off last Friday for his motorcade.

    Didn't get a chance to see it, and I wish I had, because at least I would have had a good story to go with my traffic frustrations caused by the blocked streets as I headed to court.

    Obamaponies made of rainbows would make ME happy.

    by wmtriallawyer on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 05:53:33 AM PST

  •  The most sobering motorcade I saw in DC (0+ / 0-)

    was a few months ago on my way to a Redskins game.  We were going through town and a motorcade passed us on the highway with agents in one of the trailing SUV's.  They had the windows open of the SUV with several agents in flak jackets on fill alert with AK-7 types weapons with scopes in hand peering into the cars they passed.  I have no idea who was in the motorcade but it was the most aggressive looking motorcade I have ever seen (and like the diarist mentioned, when you live around here you get used to them).  Very sobering.

    There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? - Robert Kennedy

    by choochmac on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 06:39:34 AM PST

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