July 4th! This year I feel America is on the brink of starting to put it's money where it's mouth is. Whatever happens in November, I am prouder of this country on this Independence Day than I ever have been in my life. Not just because of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but because Barack won in Iowa and Hillary won 18 million votes. Because Phyllis and Del were married in California and Ellen announced on TV that she will marry Portia and there are no threats of canceling her show. Because people may be ready to take their country back by paying attention and participating.
Last Saturday close to 4000 Unite for Change meetings were held across America. 4000! In backyards, coffee houses, parks, kitchens, restaurants, living rooms, field houses, rooftops, and you name it. There were breakfasts, lunches and sit down dinners, barbeques and bring your own food pot lucks. The gatherings ranged from 10 people in someone's kitchen to over 2100 under a tent at Taste of Chicago to watch Stevie Wonder. Monica and I went to Exchange Cafe on the south shore here in Chicago. It is a wonderful, comfortable loft style coffee/sandwich shop frequented by bikers and skaters and runners along the lake as well as neighborhood folks who gather for some good conversation. The place was packed with folks from south shore and other areas, all ages (including several using walkers) and races, even some former GOPers, and many Hillary supporters.
There were reps from Barack's campaign and workers who told stories of knocking on doors in Iowa and Indiana. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife Alderwoman Sandi Jackson were there and are as funny as they are intense.
We discussed the campaign and community issues including gun control. In light of all the recent and disturbing gun crimes and the ridiculous Supreme Court gun control decision that is so disheartening, this meeting was such a glimmer of hope that the court could soon possibly be salvaged.
It's been many years since I've seen people so ready and inspired to work together for a goal. Not just for the election but excited about making things better here at home. Hope is a powerful thing. The younger people questioned and listened and watched the older people hop off their same ole same ole treadmills and were eager with suggestions and ways they could take part. The grassroots spirit in that cafe was invigorating and warm and real. It was not so much about Obama as it was about people actually realizing that they have the power. In 4000 places we came together to participate in our democracy.
So my dear Founding Fathers, we may finally be on the path to making you men of your marvelous words and more.
Happy 4th yall!