The First Sign of Public Expression



Protesters and grassroots groups have a day full of rallies and demonstrations planned to counter the 2005 Inauguration. But on Wednesday evening, they were nowhere to be found. At least, not along the parade route. The only visible expression of any kind that I encountered took place in front of the Willard Intercontinental Hotel, a gigantic building draped in red-white-and-blue banners. On the corner of 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, stood this aging man. He had bright blue eyes, which twinkled with mischief, and large, yellow teeth. He was dressed from head to toe in the stars and stripes of the American flag. Pants. Sweater. Hat. Scarf. You see the picture. He waved a large flag as he shouted out, “U. S. A.” to passers-by. When asked his motivation, he simply replied, “I’m from Kosovo. I know bad. And this is a beautiful country!”