Letter from the Editor –Counting noses

The National Mall--Where is everybody?

Hollywood, MD - A whole lot of people showed up in Washington, DC Friday, Jan. 20 and Saturday, Jan. 21. There—that should have been the first and last words to be said about the end of last week in the Nation’s Capital. As we know now the debate rages on and the issue has polarized America—as if we needed something else to divide us. Giving props to the Inauguration Day crowd appears to be the first issue the new administration wanted to tackle. Much of it had to do with aerial photos of the National Mall that appeared side-by-side on social media. Instead of being ignored, the controversy escalated. The massive volume of people, some of their signs and sentiments, seemed to raise the shrillness to an even higher level.

There are some things that all should keep in mind. First, photos can (and often will be) altered. People on both sides of an issue do it all the time. Unless you took the photos with your own camera you can certainly be skeptical. Both sides also cherry-pick the photos they’ll use to depict theirs as the more noble cause. Secondly, it’s impossible for anyone to get a bull’s eye accurate nose count of how many people have shown up for an outdoor event in Washington, DC. The U.S. National Park Service frequently issues crowd estimates. Thirdly, in my opinion, the park service personnel have better things to do with their time than try to figure out what can’t be accurately calculated. They sometimes put themselves at odds with organizers with the estimates, too. Some other non-government numbers enthusiast ought to assume this task if it’s that important. Number four, the crowd estimate does not, or should not, determine the popularity of any one person or cause. There are so many factors in analyzing why someone has joined the crowd. The factors include weather, ability to take off time from work and school; and ability to travel. It seems pointless to use crowds of an annual or quadrennial event to tout someone or some cause’s popularity since the aforementioned factors play such a major role.

Another aspect of the events some people are using to promote their cause as more noble than the opposition’s is—unbelievably—the volume of trash attendees have left. “Those people are a bunch of slobs,” we have heard. Folks, there isn’t a demonstration, parade or outdoor concert in DC or any other large city that doesn’t yield mountains of garbage. People who attend these events don’t bring their own trash bags. This is why municipalities have public works departments.

If you attended President Trump’s Inauguration, the Women’s March Jan. 21 or if you are in DC today to participate in the March For Life you are to be saluted for wanting to be a part of history, to be something larger than yourself. We may not be able to see you in the aerial photographs but we know you are there and your voice has been heard.

The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of’s management.

Contact Marty Madden at

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