Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama Inauguration.

The parking places were few. It was cold. The line was long. We had to sign in with our name, address, and occupation to be admitted.

No, it wasn't The Inauguration. It was the Inauguration Party at the Leland Lodge last night. Because the $10 cover charge was considered a political donation, all of our information was required, and there was a bottleneck as people struggled to remember their employer's zip code. Eventually they improvised some clipboards and passed them through the crowd, and we could come in from the cold.

The whole night was happily crowded. The two bartenders were mobbed; the finger food was wiped out; I kept seeing folks I wanted to hug, but I couldn't get through the crowd.

Being a Democrat in Leelanau has always meant being out of step with everyone else. When I decided to run for township trustee, many people told me that I should just suck up and pretend to be a Republican because no Democrat could be elected in this county. I found that, as our president said yesterday, "the ground has shifted" and we are now a two party county.

There was some confusion as to the appropriate greeting for the occasion. I started out saying "Happy Inauguration Day!" but some shortened it to "Happy Day!" a few people were saying "Happy Birthday!" and one friend just said "Happy I can breathe again." The happiness was not so giddy, though. There was a heavy sense of work to be done, and a sort of comfort that we were to be measured by our capacity to work rather than the size of our bank accounts. Many of the people I spoke to were focused squarely on our local community, hatching practical plans to save energy, feed people, put people to work.

Many of us have been trying to solve these problems for years. The difference now is feeling that instead of perpetually tacking upwind we might have the wind at our backs for a while and be supported by the highest level of government. As I told a friend last night: "I know how to work hard and you know how to work hard. And I think most of the people here know how to work hard. Just think what we can get done when someone puts us all on the same task!"

Here we go......

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