With all that has been happening in the past forty-eight hours, it is difficult to put down all that I’ve seen and heard into a post for this blog. Events of historic proportions have been constantly happening in this country; to the joy of some, the shock of many.
The Washington Post’s Daily 202 did a pretty good summing up of all the events of the Inauguration Day, and on that speech. I must admit that it was rather interesting to see how the whole inauguration ceremony went and that our new POTUS was rather more restrained than I imagined him to be in his speech.While I was listening to it, I didn’t pick up on half of the things that the media is debating about right now. However, looking back at it a few days later, I can see why Chris Matthews can consider his speech ‘Hitlerian’. Meanwhile, protests turned violent on K Street and Sean Spicer has a meltdown the next day parroting his boss’ line as journalists came to ask about any thoughts on the Women’s March that drew record crowds . All this in twenty-four hours: I wonder what will be happening as the year progresses.
While all this has played out before the cameras, things have been relatively serene here on the North Coast. We have springlike weather in the middle of January and, today, bright sunshine. Who knows how the rest of the month, and year, will turn out and yet, while not everyone could take a bus down to D.C., many around here were still getting mobilized for the challenges ahead.
Yesterday, as the Women’s March took place in D.C. and across the nation, I was at a union hall in Mentor Ohio. There, the Lake County Democratic Club had their joint Central and Executive Committee Meeting. The place was packed. In fact, someone commented that there was twice as many people than at any meeting last year. What was supposed to be a short meeting turned out to be almost three hours long. Lake County Democrats were hit hard in November. Both incumbent commissioners Judy Moran and Kevin Malecek lost as did County Recorder Ann Radcliffe and many others. Only State Representative John Rogers (District 60) and County Treasurer Lorraine Fende got re-elected. In the five westernmost suburbs of Lake County Ohio (referred to locally as “The West End”) all but one precinct went for Trump. What is notable about this is the fact that area usually goes heavily Democratic. This is the reality everyone in that room Saturday was faced with.
This was one of the most energized meetings I’ve seen out there; and I have been to a few. For example, Party Chairman Tom Tagliamonte made example, a point that Lake County Democrats need to rebuild their party and leave the meeting united, “Elections matter, this (the General Election) was a disaster for Ohio and our party.” Later on, State Representative John Rogers said that “We need people at the local level before we can get people at the state and federal level,” elected while Commissioner Dan Troy told the group that the Democrats had to “get away from identity politics”. Instead they should take back the message about working to provide good paying jobs, decent schools, and lower prescription drugs; things that for some reason many in that county thought Trump would provide. Along with the regular business any political club had to do, there were votes for people to fill in spaces in the Central Committee; many of whom only started getting involved last year. All in all, this and meetings like this across the nation in the next few weeks may be for people like myself something constructive. Instead of wasting time with ‘listening tours’, getting out and mobilizing for 2018 and winning back a few seats in places like Lake County locally, and the U.S. Senate nationally, would be a very good start.
Photograph by James Valentino