The lines were "the longest I have ever stood in," and the day was arctic, but there were no complaints to be heard from the jubilant throng in Washington yesterday, Garrison Keillor writes in Salon. "All kinds of people, the slim and sleek, the XXXLs, the heavily insulated, the carefree" slowly trekked toward the Capitol for the swearing-in of a new leader and the emergence of "a new America," Keillor writes—all radiating goodwill and a sense of the enormity of the occasion. "I simply was grateful to be among it."
The crowd's spirit "was more than Democrats feeling their oats or African-Americans celebrating the unimaginable, more than revulsion at the gang of bullheads who held power for too long," Keillor writes. "It was a huge gasp of pleasure at a new America emerging, a country we all tried to believe in, a nation that is curious and venturesome, more openhearted and public-spirited."