The inauguration of Donald Trump– contentious as it was– had everyone in agreement about one thing: things are going to change. Men and women wearing red hats, beanies, and inauguration-branded scarves mingled with other men and women wearing black and pink, protest pins, and carrying signs. There was tension in the air, of course. They’d all traveled from far and wide to be in Washington, DC and be part of history and make their voice heard.

Waiting to get through the checkpoint to the parade route, protesters scattered in line chanted as Trump supporters watched mostly silently, with some boos and taunts.

After going through the checkpoint, a square was filled with a stage and a crowd of protesters. A few Trump supporters had wandered over to gawk from the edges, but I immediately noticed these two men who had wandered in the middle and were having loud discussions with crowds of protesters. As I watched for a few minutes my worry turned to joy. Their disagreement was loud and passionate- but rarely disrespectful. I’ve watched people argue on Twitter and Facebook over these exact issues for over a year now. But somehow these strangers were able to have a more coherent and respectful discussion face-to-face. “That’s what America’s about!” I thought.

Not every interaction was friendly, but the worst I saw was between these two women separated by a barricade. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. People are much less human when you aren’t talking face-to-face on equal footing, I think.

As I exited the parade route and the sanctioned protest, I checked Facebook and noticed my colleague James King had started a livestream of black bloc protesters running wild in the street not far from where I was. I rushed over to him. By the time I’d gotten there things had calmed down a bit, a lot of arrests had been made, including the producer James was working with.

We had enough time to duck into a bar with wifi so his videographer could upload footage from the morning. Smoking a cigarette outside the bar with another friend who was there for the Daily News, we heard the clearly-identified sounds of concussion grenades going off a block or so away, and we sprinted in that direction. We found the Black Bloc again clashing with police.

Black-clad protesters were dragging newspaper boxes and garbage cans into the street, throwing rocks and bricks, and doing a good job avoiding being grabbed. The police responded with concussion grenades, broad spurts of pepper spray, and lines of riot cops with shields and batons shouting “move!”