Throw Me Something, Mister!

Cleaning up a bunch of beads after a Mardi Gras parade. Please note the public works trucks and personnel.

Say what you will about New Orleans, but our cousins in Louisiana can sure throw a parade. They are known to take over a street for the special occasion of it being a Sunday.

More importantly, not only can they take a street over, they know how to give it back. Amazing is the sight of the very end of the parade–the Krewe of Cleanup. It doesn’t take hours for a street to reopen, but minutes after the last float throws its last beads, cars are released and traffic goes back to it’s typical snarl.

It doesn’t work that way in D.C.

Foot and coach traffic have been diverted in anticipation of upcoming motorcades. A labyrinth of jersey walls, cones, snow fences and police vehicles have corralled pedestrians and vehicles for days and days. Scores of corners are overseen by uniformed police with weapons. Some sit in their cars. Others stand. Reflector-vested and gloved officers are standing in the middle of intersections overriding the red-yellow-green of the temporarily redundant traffic lights. Tanks and humvees line commuting corridors.

For fifty people here for two days.

Since those fifty people are the leaders of 50 different countries–countries like Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Austria, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi-Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, Czech Republic, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vietnam, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Switzerland–that’s a lot of security. That means a lot of motorcycles and a lot of squad cars leading a lot of limos with a lot of little flags from a lot of different countries.

Still, these diplomatic parades are short. They pass by in a matter of seconds. There is no detritus of coins, cups, strands or flasks. There are no hundreds or thousands of revelers to move along. Heck, there are no revelers, just the anticipation of bad guys.

Streets are closed. Traffic is gridlocked. And there isn’t even a chance of getting a long string of beads for those inconvenienced. I hope they do something about those nukes.

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