Student Spotlight: Yeats McDonald – Seeing the Inauguration First Hand

Yeats McDonald finds the differences between our political system and those of other countries fascinating. This fascination has sparked an interest in foreign affairs, which was only strengthened by her trip to see the inauguration of our 45th President, Donald Trump. Yeats is a VCS student who hopes to one day be a part of this process of making monumental decisions that affect not only our nation, but the entire world.

“I think it would be irresponsible not to have a level of awareness of the world around us,” Yeats said. “The peaceful transition of power is a hallmark of our democracy, and something that makes America so unique. Before the inauguration, I knew that this was something essential to our democracy, but it was a special experience to see it first-hand.”

Though she did not have the opportunity to see any prominent figures up close during her visit, Yeats noted that the Texas delegation held their Inaugural Ball at the hotel she stayed in night before the Inauguration. “We watched everyone in their ball gowns, cowboy hats, and tuxedos from the balcony inside the hotel atrium,” she said.

While the Texas convention was enjoying their ball, Yeats and her family attended the concert at Lincoln Memorial and picked up their tickets to the Swearing-in Ceremony from Congressman Pat Tiberi’s office, which also gave them the opportunity to see the offices of different state representatives, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. She was also able to tour colleges in the area and explore D.C. during her trip.

Yeats had traveled to Washington D.C. previously, but noted that the increased level of energy present during this visit was that of excitement at the prospect of change. Roads were blocked off, vendors were set up, and police, military, Coast Guard and the National Guard were all present to increase security for the event. Attending the inauguration allowed Yeats to see the amount of people supporting President Trump as more than just the numbers shown in polls, but as individuals with different needs and opinions. People from all over the country gathered to watch the start of the new administration.

From her perspective, Yeats saw only those who were pleased and excited to see the changes and new set of values held by the incoming administration. Standing right next to those holding such excitement, she felt the importance of the words being said much more strongly than she would have if she had simply watched the inauguration on television. She noted that President Trump appeared approachable and confident, something she thinks may not have come across on all networks broadcasting the inauguration.

“This was a monumental event for Republicans everywhere, just as the election of President Obama was monumental for liberals,” Yeats recognizes. “Both presidents were elected after a two-term presidency of the opposite party.”

Yeats herself says that she is “relieved and excited to have a president in office who reflects [her] ideals, values, and hope for our country.”

Yeats strongly suggests that others attend an inauguration ceremony if they have the chance, even if they don’t have tickets! “There are big screen TVs set up so everyone can watch the ceremony,” she explained. For those interested in attending an inauguration ceremony in the future, Yeats suggests bringing snacks, wearing comfortable shoes, and purchasing a MetroCard in advance to avoid waiting in more lines.