Linking arms again and shouting, ”Cops off the sidewalk!,“ protesters once more successfully pushed the police back into Pennsylvania Avenue. The parade had paused to let the Secret Service scope out a much larger crowd of protesters several blocks down, where the International Action Center had gathered (Bush’s limo eventually sped by, his Secret Service escort breaking into a sprint to keep up), and a battalion of mounted police had paused in front of the Navy Memorial. After one last rousing chant -- ”Get those animals off of those horses!“ -- their point made, uninterested in standing in the rain any longer to watch the miles of marching bands, floats and bayonet-wielding troops file by, the crowd broke up and spread out into the downtown streets, heading for the metro, the bus station, any place dry and warm.
Within a few hours CNN and the networks would be drooling over the ”pomp and pageantry“ of the day‘s events, neglecting for the most part to carry their alliteration out to its logical conclusion with more than a cursory mention of the word protest. The protests, the largest at least since Nixon’s inauguration, would soon be forgotten, the metros teeming with Republicans in formalwear on their way to eight inaugural balls, the streets clogged with herds of limousines, coughing out their mink-swaddled contents, whose tight, triumphant grins out-glowed even their pearls.