Never before have so many traveled so far to see a slightly obstructed view of a Jumbotron screen, light years away from where the swearing in ceremonies were taking place. And that's the real story of the Obama Inauguration.
Contrast that to the final months of the Bush administration, when turning on a remote to watch Bush stumble his way through a news conference, was simply not worth the effort.
It was incredibly moving to see the very young and old, the infirmed and the slow of foot, brave the cold and the claustrophobia to witness this historic day.
But for the rest of us whose journey was nowhere near as difficult, we should retire our war stories about getting up early on a cold morning and being squished as we valiantly tried to see above the person blocking our partial view of the Jumbotron.
When President Obama(that's the first time I've typed those words and it feels really good) called on us to perform public service, I don't think he considered standing in the cold to be a fulfillment of that requirement. Using a port-o-potty doesn't absolve us from any future activism or participation in worthwhile causes.
My Jumbotron view of the Inaugural concert two days earlier, was unobstructed, and at least I knew the general direction of where the entertainment was taking place. Change was certainly in the air when a bald eagle was gently brought on stage to flutter about for a few moments. If this were Bush's inaugural, Dick Cheney would have shot the bald eagle. And simultaneously taken it off the endangered species list. While I was in DC, I saw Cheney's limo whisk by one day. I knew it was Cheney because instead of a siren, a voice from the limo barked, "Get out of my way. I'm right and you're wrong."
Happily the tone has changed. Even more happily, so has the cast of characters. All of us who were there were extras(or background actors as SAG and AFTRA remind us) in all this, but if we're going to play a more principal role in helping our incredibly gifted President, we're going to have to do a lot more than just stand there.