The first morning of the National College Media Convention, Oct. 31, was also the morning Congress voted on the impeachment inquiry: Halloween, perhaps fittingly.
I was up early that morning to meet an acquaintance for coffee in Georgetown, which was covered in Washington Nationals flags. They had just won the World Series the night before, but there didn’t seem to be anyone out celebrating, or much of anyone out at all.
I realized I had enough time to head to Capitol Hill for the vote, which was to take place 10:30 a.m., according to news outlets on Twitter. I’m relatively familiar with Capitol Hill, where I was an intern years ago.
“Was it always this quiet?” I thought as I got off the Capitol South metro stop. There was barely anyone else walking around outside the House office buildings, though I did see a man dressed as a devil wandering around near the Supreme Court. Washington was overcast that morning, making the scene somewhat eery.
To view the proceedings from the congressional gallery, visitors must request gallery passes from their Member of Congress. I headed to Jason Crow’s office. I remember congressional offices bustling with movement, but these hallways that morning were quiet.
The Capitol Visitors Center, unsurprisingly, was a bit rowdier, being full of tourists. The line to the House gallery, as the woman behind the front desk at Rep. Crow’s office warned me, was much longer than usual. On the television screens in the waiting area, I saw Nancy Pelosi wearing a distracting orange blazer, perhaps for Halloween.
When I saw votes start to tally up on the screen, almost exclusively down party lines, I knew it was too late to watch the vote. Instead of continuing to wait, I went back outside, which was still mostly absent of any movement.
On the way out, I saw a single protestor, a woman holding a sign reading, “TRUTH HONOR JUSTICE.”
I’m still baffled that all the outrage at the President, at Congress, at our whole political system I’ve seen on social media for three years, and the impeachment vote still only brings a single protestor.