I should by all rights apologize for my extended holiday hiatus. I'm sorry. Good, now that's over with. What I really want to write about is Obama—He (arguably) crowdsourced his campaign. He indisputably crowdfunded it. And by all indications, he's intent on creating a crowdsourced government. Or put another way, he wants to put the participation back into "participatory democracy."
But that'll hold for a few days. First I want to report on my inaugural. Everyone's got a story, even if it just involves sitting around the TV with friends and family cackling at Rick Warren. Here's mine:
Last week we discovered that my wife's uncle, a pollster who worked with Obama from the beginning of the campaign, could score us tickets to the ceremony and one of the balls. I actually debated not going, but decided on Friday to buy one of the last fares on Amtrack and take the train to DC. Smart—when it comes to the Bos-Wash corridor, trains kill planes. I arrived at 9:25 AM Tuesday morning. Dumb. Most people with tickets—and even those without them—had started queing up by 6 AM. I wound up getting within sight of the Mall by 10:45. This would be plenty of time, if several hundred thousand people weren't separating me from my proper gate. I had a silver ticket, but was forced into the two-acre rugby scrum by the purple gate. Here was my view of the proceedings:
There was an upside to this: I wound up being part of the first official scandal of the Obama administration—the Purple Ticket Controversy. Turns out thousands of people with even better tickets than mine were turned away from the inauguration. Arriving so late, I probably earned my seat. But most of the purple ticket holders had been waiting—in a tunnel—since 6 AM. And they still didn't get in. Luckily, Senator Diane Feinstein is going to convene an investigation. Because, you know, Congress isn't busy these days with stimulus packages and ethics reform. For what it's worth Senator, I had a dandy time with the plebes outside the gates.
My evening was more successful. I had a ticket to the Obama Homestate Ball. The food was crapulous and the drinks were expensive, but the view of the royal couple, er, I mean the President and the First Lady couldn't be beat.
And the companionship was even better: I got to hang out with Unks and his crew. They're a lot like any group of colleagues who've spent two years working days and nights together—except these folks are about to fill the West Wing. It was educational: They're just like us, except really, really powerful. And, it must be said, very cool, just like The One. Obviously, a lot of my questions revolved around whether the administration would follow through on its promise to involve stakeholders and constituents in substantive policy formation, which is to say, bring the crowd into governing. The answer, unequivocally expressed, was yes. With a caveat: The citizens have to want to be involved, and, to put it in Barackian terms, reach for the hand extended out to them. That story's just begun, and we'll be chronicling it here.