Richard Schiff, who so memorably played Toby Zeigler on “The West Wing,” writes about something he noticed after President Obama’s inauguration in January, 2009 — a group of people who didn’t depart with the rest of the huge crowd:
These people stayed. Waiting for some thing more than the great evidence of speech and song and universal cheering, tears. What more can there be? A half a million screaming, crying, shivering Americans and huge screens showing this man, this most unlikely citizen, swearing on a book that he will faithfully preserve, protect, defend and uphold our sacred document. Bands played. The man himself made a great speech. Ella sang for god’s sake. Couples, strangers hugged, celebrated and made for the buses. But not these frozen few. They just stayed, actually staring at the screen. Some looking high up towards the Capitol Dome. What else could there be?
“What are you waiting for?” I thought I would just ask.
“The chopper,” said one.
“The ex-President,” said a woman next to him.
“Bush,” said another with a hard look towards me like I should know.
“Marine One,” said a kinder soul. “We’re waiting for Marine One. It’ll be coming up there. Rising above the dome any minute.”
“Oh,” I said.
She went on: “Just proof. I want proof. I want to see that son of a bitch haul his ass out a here. That’s how they go. The old first couple is escorted by the incoming first couple and shove them into Marine One and off they go. See ya.”
She looked back at the dome. So did every one else. Everyone who was still there.