My Inaugural PastJanuary 19, 2009
My first job out of college was as the receptionist for a labor union, namely the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA). It was a relatively new union, formed to replace the former PATCO. PATCO had gone on strike in 1981; then-President Ronald Reagan fired the controllers who refused to end the strike and return to work.
The NATCA Executive Director was a PATCO controller who was fired by Reagan. He had no affection for the man. This caused us to bond rather well, as I was a fresh-out-of-college bleeding heart liberal who couldn’t stand Ronnie.
In January 1989, the Executive Director received several tickets to George Bush’s inaugural ball. He gave me two of them and although I didn’t like Bush, I knew a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when I saw one. My sole Republican friend Peggy and I got gussied up and headed to the Washington DC Convention Center for the inaugural ball. I was surprised that “the” inaugural ball was not just one ball, but several. I don’t think there were any VIPs at the ball I attended, but Lee Greenwood was there to sing “God Bless the USA” while George and Barbara Bush made an appearance.
Not long after the Bushes came on stage and danced their obligatory dance, my friend and I looked at each other, declared, “This place is beat,” and decided to leave. We took our souvenir inaugural plates and caught a cab to Poseurs, where we looked decidedly out of place in our semi-formal gowns… but had a lot more fun.
So oddly enough, with all the hoopla surrounding this inauguration, I don’t feel like I’m missing a thing. Been there, done that, left early. 😉