The Washington Post on how “The 2009 People’s Inaugural Ball changed lives“:
Somewhere in the crowd that night stood homeless people, wounded service members, flood survivors. If you looked into the ballroom, it would have been hard to distinguish the millionaires from the people who had only pennies in their pockets. They would dine on lobster and steak, nibble on white chocolate. They would shake hands with celebrities and dance until night moved into day. No one would know that a ripple of change was making its way through the crowd that night, and that the People’s Inaugural Ball, celebrating the first African American president in U.S. history, would transform lives one by one….
As they walked down 14th Street, Emily Miller and Elaine Webber might as well have been floating. Emily Miller carried an elegant hot-pink satin gown. Elaine Webber held a chocolate-and-cream designer dress with delicate hand-sewn crystals.
Nobody watching the women as they made their way toward the JW Marriott Hotel that January night in 2009 would have known that, not long ago, they had been living on the streets, addicted and homeless….
At the Marriott on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, the host of the ball, Fairfax County philanthropist Earl W. Stafford, waited in a black tuxedo. About two weeks before, the millionaire had sold Unitech, a simulation technology company he had founded in 1988, to Lockheed Martin for an undisclosed amount…
The inspiration to throw the ball had come during the 2008 primaries before he knew Obama would be president.
“I … bought the presidential suite at the Hay-Adams six months ahead of time because I thought I would have some underserved homeless there to watch the parade, have some food and go home,” he said. But something told him that would be too little.
So, he paid $2 million for hotel rooms, transportation, food, gowns and tuxes, and invited 450 for a night beyond their most outlandish dreams….
Read the whole thing, you cynical insomniacs, before you come back to explain how bad I sukk at editing.