Inaugural Notes: A Look Back and a Look Forward
January 21, 2013
At this moment, four years ago, I was squooshed between so many people trying to get into the presidential inauguration that I had to count how many were actually touching me, even with my hands at my sides.
The total: seven.
"More troubling than my inability to raise my arms or esca pe in the case of idiocy is the fact that I was warned about this – and ignored the advice," I wrote in a cover story called "Capital Records: A reporter’s hopeful journey from Monterey into the heart of inaugural madness." "I can’t help but wonder who’s dumber: the guy over there selling pictures of 'Obama and MLK talking in the Oval Office,' the people who buy them, or me. I don’t wonder long. The answer is easy."
Four years later, some things have changed.
The crowds aren't as claustrophobic. Smart phones, relatively new in 2009 and now essentially ubiquitous, are loaded with apps to manage the maps and mazes of the ceremony. James Taylor supplants Yo-Yo Ma. Barack Obama has a few more gray hairs. George W. Bush has completely disappeared from view. The country's more divided than ever. The Niners have gone from doormats to knocking down Superbowl doors.
But at least one thing is the same.
As Obama takes the stage to deliver his second inaugural oath, what matters most isn't what's happened in the last four years, it's what happens in the next four.