Saturday, January 17, 2009

CNN Reports: Pilgrimage to the Holy City of Washington

I'd heard it referred to as the Immaculate Inauguration of Barack Obama,
but that was meant in jest. Now a CNN report has made a serious comparison of Obama's inauguration to the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. Oh, they made a half-hearted attempt to frame it as a story about crowd control at large events, but clearly CNN likes the idea of the inaugural as religious ceremony.

I like the comparison, too, but I wonder why we don't go the whole nine yards? At Mecca, the pilgrims do more than just passively attend an event. They walk counter-clockwise seven times about the Kaaba, run back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah, drink from the Zamam well, go to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil, and throw stones at three pillars in the city of Mina in a ritual stoning of the devil.

Here's my idea for making Obama's inauguration day a more fully satisfying experience for his devout followers. First, instead of having Obama lead an inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of stationary attendees, let's have the attendees walk around the Washington Mall nines times (it will help them keep warm). Then let's have them run back and fourth between the Washington and Lincoln Memorials, and afterwards stand silently before the Capitol Building. Next, they can drink from the Reflecting Pool (if they dare; have you seen the water in there?). And for the big finale, they can all walk past three pillars symbolizing Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld and throw stones at their political devils.

People would love it, and it would become an annual event.

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