Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inauguration Tuesday

I would like to begin by apologizing for taking so long to update, it was total chaos on Tuesday and I couldn’t find a stable wireless signal.

Anyway, Tuesday was insane. We headed down to the metro at around 3am figuring most people wouldn’t be headed out that early…but we were very very wrong. The road towards the Metro station, a .5 mile stretch of road, took over an hour and a half to head down, and this was at an outlining station. The Metro itself was packed to the brim, every car on every train was overcrowded. Everybody became a little more personal to say the least. Our original goal was to transfer trains and head right up to Judiciary Square like the map intended but traffic was so brutal that it became evident that this wasn’t going to work, so out into the cold morning air we went. It was about 6am when we got off the train and began our 13 block walk to 1st street, which was where the Purple Gate line was supposed to be. We finally get to where we are were told to go when we find out that nobody actually knows where the purple gate line is, and further that nothing is being done to alleviate the issue. So, we finally find what is believed to be the line, and after standing there for a while realize that it has not moved at all since we got there. I get out of line and walk down to see if I can see the gate, and see what the issue is and as it turned out, there was just a wall of people intersecting into the ‘purple’ line and that it was just pure Urban congestion. That just wouldn’t suffice for us, we wanted to make sure we got into that Inauguration. So we headed out of the line, walked another 4 or five blocks and finally found the gate we needed and a line going to it which was actually filtering into the event, and I’m glad we did.

The Inauguration itself was wonderful. I know there are many people out in the political community who have noted that Obama’s address was not as memorable in terms of key lines and that it did not live up to the hype of the Kennedy or Roosevelt address, but I stand in the contrary. I believe Obama’s speech was a carefully crafted doctrine to both the domestic and world communities about the new direction of American Policy. Obama’s words echoed through every heart and mind and that is what will make his speech memorable. The idea that peace can be as strong as war is one sadly missed by many in the previous government, and the fact that Diplomacy and Understanding have ,at least, the potential to reemerge at the helm of policy should make every last American and world community member ecstatic.

After the Inauguration, we fled with the rest of the 3.6 million (based on last estimate I heard) people towards the streets in search of food, coffee and of course a rest room. The first stop on this adventure for me was a coffee shop. I never would have fathomed that I would have to stand inline, outside, to order my traditional caramel macchiato. Needless to say, I waited in the cold in a line of people to get inside and order a drink that on any other day would have had me in and out in five minutes. Instead, on this day, it took just about 20 minutes for a coffee….

Nothing to much more to dwell on there, so I will fast forward to Tuesday evening and the “Celebration of Many Nations” Inaugural Ball which was an amazing time. We were served a four course dinner and entertained with Jazz music, and most importantly, made more aware of the Native American population as well as their customs and beliefs which to me was an honor.

We finally headed home at around 10pm, and finally got back at around 430 this Wednesday thus almost ending our trip, except for me. I had to place some phone calls to the media from six to seven which was as it had been all week a lot of fun.

This road to D.C. feels like it has been ripped from a story book and it is clear the fates were aligned perfectly for all of us. It has been the up-most pleasure to be able to share my experiences and opinions with all of you. If it was not for you the reader, my trip would have yielded little meaning in terms of the importance of this trip, at least for me. I understand how wonderful it was to be such a part of history, but the fact that I have been able to share my experiences with all of you through the radio, news networks, and this blog has created an entirely different perspective on this event and as I have said, I am honored that you allowed me to do so.

In closing I would just like to extend my thanks to the entire Wilkes community who has been so understanding of this entire trip, especially President Gilmour who has been so kind and wonderful to all of us. Further, family and friends, all of your phone calls and emails really made me feel wonderful inside, I am so glad to be able to make all of you so proud. I appreciate all of you taking such an interest in this project, I know it can be difficult to keep track of all the television interviews and even the blog posts but all of you kept watching and reading, and that was so wonderful, Thank you..

Finally, I will continue to update this blog, first with the Congressman Kanjorski interview, and some final small things regarding the trip, (including more picture), and then I will continue to write some political opinions which I hope all of you will continue to read and comment on.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Updates!

First, I hope everyone enjoyed my interviews this morning on Magic 93, WVIA, and WBRE. I had a lot of fun with them and look forward to more conversations tomorrow. You can hear me on Magic around 6AM, WVIA shortly after that, and on WBRE at 6:45. Okay, now with that shameless plug out of the way I can move onto Monday’s events.

Like everybody else in D.C. we had to head down to the Capital to grab our tickets to the Inauguration from our Congressperson and just as you would have guessed, the place was mobbed with people. Every House of Representatives Office Building had at least two lines that stretched about a block out from the doors. Needless to say, it took us about an hour and a half to get inside the building. But the fun wasn’t over there, no, we had to go through a security checkpoint! Everything I had on me was tossed onto a conveyor belt, including my coat, and scanned by some machine for…well, I don’t exactly know. Anyway, once we were inside the building we headed over to Representative Kanjorski’s office and gathered our tickets and then went trekking for some food in one of the House Cafeterias. Sadly, we found a cafeteria. I think I can understand now why so often Washington is so inefficient—the food. The food inside that place was some of the worst I have ever had in my life. To put it in perspective, imagine ski resort food…now overcook it and over salt it…and now you have the makings of a House cafeteria lunch.

After ‘eating’ we headed back to Congressman Kanjorski’s office for an interview we had scheduled with him. I was blown away by how receptive, kind, and interested he was, both in me and my school. He shared several stories with us, which really helped inspire my political side just a pinch more. He spoke many times on the value of good strong education, and reflected back several times to his own life, as we shared in comments on the historical of both Martin Luther King Day and Obama’s Inauguration. Mr. Kanjorski is one of the smartest men I have spoken with, and I am honored to have been given such an opportunity.

I am working on a digital recording of the interview which should be available for listening on my blog Wednesday.

Alright everybody, given the horrible traffic predictions and metro congestion, we will all be leaving our hotel at 3am, so on that note, I am going to try and take a bit of a nap.

Good night NEPA and I look forward to updating you all this evening on the Inauguration!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

We Are One

Today was by far the best one yet. I know, given the fact that I had a debate tournament for the two prior days that isn’t much of a statement, but that really is beside the point. Anyway, today the big to do in D.C. was the WE ARE ONE Inaugural concert event at the Lincoln Memorial, and it certainly lived up to all the hype. Preshow estimates figured that about half a million people would attend the event, but from my perspective out in the crowd, it certainly seemed like a lot more than that.
So, the concert…it was great, without doubt most of you reading this have seen the event on HBO so I won’t dwell too much on the actual event, and instead will just talk about the feelings I had in the crowd, and do my best to capture the mood of everyone around me. I have to start by saying there was something different about everyone here today. On a usual crowded day, everyone is unhappy, quiet, sticking to themselves and their immediate parties, but today everybody was smiling, everybody was talking with one another, it was truly like we were one very large family. That is what our country has been missing for a long time, I would say, that connectivity—that togetherness that bonds us and reminds us all that when we exclaim,”We are Americans,” that we are held together by beliefs and shared hardships and not just location.
I think we all really felt that today. Every last one of us was there to share in a concert, and more than that, share in the beginning of the event of a lifetime, the Inauguration of a president who, as so many have said, only comes around once in a generation. As I was at the concert today, watching and listening to so many clips of our great presidents, I couldn’t help but feel connected to all of them as well. I felt like I was part of the same fervor that the 60s felt with Kennedy, the same pride the 30s felt when they rallied under Roosevelt, and the same strength the nation felt when Lincoln spoke to save the union. We are all a part of our history and our future, and everybody at the concert understands that in a way so many cannot. It is true, the theme and title of the event; we are one, and we must share in our stories and struggles if we are to remain a United States.

An excellent president can accomplish outstanding things, but what truly makes a president great are the people he represents—the people who stand up for America, who defend her when she is down, and who, most importantly, never forget the lessons of our past and the prospects of our future.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day One

Well everybody, the Inauguration trip has officially kicked off as of Noon Friday, and I must say it has been quite the day. It all started with us, Jeff and myself, completely missing our first round of debate, which I must admit, was entirely my fault. I had class until 11:50 which I did not want to miss, which made it quite hard to get down to George Mason University for 2:00pm. Anyway, we did finally get to GMU and were on time for the second round of debate. That particular round was very frustrating; it started late…and ended even later. After we finally got out of that round, which we lost, we headed on the metro and into Washington D.C.

I have to say, Washington was just glowing this evening. Everybody seemed to be moving with an extra bounce in their step, talking with a little more pride, and looking forward to a fresh tomorrow. I admit, all of those could be related to the 9 degree temperatures… but I think it is because of one of the most historic inaugurations in our history. Everywhere I went this evening there were signs of “parade route” and “weather the change” (which were written on umbrellas) and it just really made everything hit home for me. Before now, it all seemed like a dream, something that couldn’t possibly happening, but tonight qualified everything, being in the city in lieu of this momentous event woke me up, and I remember thinking for a moment as I looked around, “I’m awake—but am still sharing in the dream of generations” and I just felt very humbled.

There isn’t too much planned for tomorrow, but check back for an update during the later part of the afternoon which should include some pictures.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thank you for the comments and questions

First, I would like to thank everyone who has extended congratulatory remarks I really appreciate all of your support. This entire trip would mean less to me if I didn’t feel like I was helping contribute to the community. As I’ve said, we all have an obligation as citizens of NEPA to give back whenever we can, because we aren’t willing to be there for each other, who is going to be?

A few of people also had a few questions regarding the inaugural ball that I will be attending. I must begin by saying that I still have no idea at all who is attending the ball, but I am very sure, (or at least I tell myself that I am), that there will be some significant people from across the country attending the event. The event itself, regardless of the celebrities it may or may not attract, will be wonderful however, because it gives me a unique opportunity to experience some Native American culture, as well as meet many unique and intelligent people from across this nation.

Finally I will address the comments I received concerning my thoughts on the Democratic trifecta. The democratic monopoly , I believe, has the potential to either right the wrongs of the past eight years or create new, compounding issues. I am always concerned when any one voice in this country is underrepresented because it is the minority opinion that so often helps streamline reform. If we look into the not so far past, we can remember a time when the Republicans had a very dominant majority in both the House and Senate, and controlled the executive branch as well as the Supreme Court, and I am certain we can all remember the outcome of the all red government. I do admit, that yes, a lot of the problems stemmed not from the Republican monopoly but from several tremendous mistakes made in the Executive Branch. That is not to say however, that the lack of democratic representation during this time did not hasten the problematic situations this country found itself in time and time again. There is potential therefore, for another bad situation. If the Democrats find themselves to afraid to question a potential piece of legislation submitted by the president we could all easily find ourselves, as I’ve said, in another disappointing time. Now, I will retort my own gloom and doom by saying that I believe Obama is a very smart and competent president elect who I think has surrounded himself with very strong people who will not be afraid to argue with him. That is something we lacked for eight years, and it is this sort of not so much hostile but expressive cabinet that will help right the wrongs that have been done, and ensure that all sides to an issue are looked at. As I said, so long as the minority is represented, which I believe it will be, we will see a push forward for both American Policy and the American people.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Major Updates

So everybody I have some great news. Representative Kanjorski’s office just contacted us and confirmed that we have tickets for the Swearing-in Ceremony of President Elect Obama! This news is what I have been waiting for since we first started discussing this trip, and now that it has happened I am beyond relieved. Packaged along with the tickets was an invitation to a reception with Mr. Kanjorski which I am looking forward to immensely. Also we have received tickets to the Celebration of Many Nations one People Ball, which I am looking forward to attending. Here is the description from their website, "A Celebration of Many Nations - One People" The 2009 American Indian Inaugural Ball brings together Native leaders, organizations, artists, musicians, and professionals from across the country.

I am glad to see so many things coming together in the final week before the event, and I am really looking forward to all the goings on. As usual, if you have any questions or comments feel free to post a comment on the blog, or email me at I look forward to hearing from you.Oh, and if you missed it here is the link to my WBRE interview. So much has been happening

I almost forgot to mention that on the morning of the 20th you can listen for my call in live from D.C on the WBRE’s Morning Show, and for all of you out on your way to work, you can listen to me on Magic 93 with Frankie in the Morning as I will be placing some phone calls with him as well.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Hey NEPA, as you may have heard from my interview with Frankie or WBRE, I will be in Washington D.C. during the inauguration and have been blessed with the opportunity to report back on all the political happenings associated with this historic event. Since my voice will be falling on your early morning, not quite awake ears, I think it would be wise for me to just let you know a little more about me. I am David Cook, and again, no not the American Idol Winner, even though I do consider myself just as charming. I’ve grown up in Wilkes-Barre, and have grown close to the city even though she has her faults. Further, I am outspoken and try to add a bit of humor to every situation. I think we need to laugh more…there is a lot going on in the world, and most of it isn’t pleasant news, so really we need to enjoy the small funny things that happen, the little jokes and such, because when we feel better about the small things, the big issues don’t always seem as bad. Now that I’ve digressed on that little tidbit I’ll hop back on track by saying that I believe I am indebted to all of you who are reading this blog, and are welcoming me into your lives for the next couple weeks.Because I am so grateful to all of you, I want to know what you want to know about in regard to the election, politics, my political views, almost anything that you can think of. Post a comment on my blog or Email me at, and I will try to respond in my next blog to as many people as I can.

Also, be sure to check back regularly for updates on my inauguration plans, there are a lot of big things in the works, and as I find out more I want all of you to find out more. I don’t just view my trip to D.C. as my trip, but as a trip for all of NEPA where we can all share in this momentous occasion, and all feel like we are a part of it, even if we can not all be there. Many of us felt connected in a special way during this election, and I would like to see us carry it through the inauguration and far beyond.

Again I thank all of you for giving me this great opportunity and I look forward to all of your questions and comments.