The pavement was so hot it was sticking to my shoes as I milled about aimlessly in the middle of the road with the uncountable masses. No private cars were moving today as the entire city was blocked off and open only to foot traffic and the horse-mounted Security Volunteers.
Occasionally a great fanfare of honking horns and sirens would signal a new limo arriving, pushing swiftly through the crowd accompanied by a trotting phalanx of uniformed party organizers with megaphones and batons. Inside a dimly seen profile of one corporate celebrity or another as they were whisked to the viewing stands.
We all stood and sweated and made weak stabs at small talk with our neighbors, but there were party officials gliding quietly in pairs through the crowd, unseen until they were suddenly beside you, and the conversations petered out quickly before they could take a turn down the wrong path.
Every now and then a shout, raised voices, a brief scuffle nearby and the human herd would shift, compress as it tried to edge away from the enforcers. The talk would pick up for a while as we pondered the possible transgression and the fate of the limp attendee being dragged off. And then we would stand again, and sweat.
In the afternoon a truck moved slowly through the crowd, tossing out cases of water. The water was free, we were informed by megaphone; a gift and an indication of things to come. It was sorely needed, and there was quite a scuffle to get to it. The guy in the back tossed one out near me and turned to his buddy to get another. “Naah, we getting pretty low, gotta spread these out.” I heard the other guy say, and the truck disappeared. I didn’t get any, and nobody around me did either. I sweated.
And then, at some point later in the steamy afternoon after I had lost all sense of time, tiny figures became visible on the stands that had been erected probably at least half a mile from where we all stood. With quickening pulse, we all informed each other that it was about to start. A crackle of static over the banks of speakers and bull-horned security men on horseback demanding silence.
A tiny toy person dressed in a black robe moved across the stage and stood before another diminutive dot. The speakers crackled to life and that familiar voice rang out:
“I, Donald J. Trump, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States…”