1/21/13

Quiet . . .

Today is a BIG day in Washington, DC. There are 500,000 people on the National Mall, 1,600 people on the VIP stand alone, 3,000 law enforcement officers are ADDING to the thousands and thousands that will protect the proceedings, millions and millions of dollars will be spent on media coverage, travel, parties, clothes, food, drinks, and stylish overcoats all for the show that is a Presidential Inauguration.

We do it because this is AMERICA, G-dammit! We like the show. The pomp. The circumstance. The bunting. The flags. The stylish overcoats. We want a reason, every four years (even if it is just swearing back in the same-ol' President), to gather around a television (or computer monitor/smart phone/tablet) and to share in a common experience that - each round - gets bigger and bigger (although this year, curiously, the number and size of balls and parties is down - this is a GOOD thing, in my never humble opinion). Today's ceremony (the thing that does grow) will feature 90 minutes of scheduled entrances and introductions and an Invocation from a black, female lay-person. The poem will be read today, for the first time, by an openly gay, immigrant. Kelly Clarkson is going to sing. This is going to be HUGE.

But here's the important thing . . . it is all for show. Just for a reason to hang the bunting. For President Obama, as you probably already know, was sworn in for the second and final time YESTERDAY. With only the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and his family (officially) present in the comfort of his own (loaned) home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It was just them and the promise and obligations of the office.

We can make the parties, the process, the parade, the pomp, as big as the National Mall itself but - ultimately - today (yesterday?) is about a man who is agreeing to hunker down, live four years under constant scrutiny and without a hint of privacy for him or his family. He's going to sacrifice all that "we" ask him to and he'll ask us for the same because, after all, there was a BIG party today to reward him - but now it is time to return to work. The quiet, quiet task of civil service.

THANK YOU, Mr. President (and all those before you and all those to follow) for your willingness to sacrifice so much that we might continue to be a great land and great nation that should be PROUD to fill "the" mall every four years to honor OUR President and his quiet duties - in his stylish overcoat or otherwise.