|01-17-2009, 07:57 AM||#1|
I WANT DEFENSE!
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Always Hoping
"The End of an Error"
I love it! Perfectly describes what is happening on Tuesday. Please don't come back with "Obama won't be any better". It isn't about that. I've highlighted what I'm most excited to see leave with this administration. Hell, if multitudes of Utahns from the reddest state feel this way....I'd say it's a consensus nationwide.
By Kirsten Stewart
The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated: 01/17/2009 08:02:32 AM MST
The people on Deborah Levine's street don't need an excuse to party. It's the kind of neighborhood that does Easter egg hunts and potlucks, where summer evenings are spent on the front porch in idle conversation.
So a block party to mark Obama's inauguration seemed natural.
"It's an historic occasion, not just because Obama won, but because Bush is leaving," Levine said, calling Tuesday's inaugural ceremony "the end of an error."
Utah is in the grips of inaugural madness.
Rock concerts, barbecues, a prayer-fest and yoga retreat are among activities planned to mark the swearing-in of the president-elect. Pockets of people everywhere have caught the fever, even in conservative Utah County, where homeowners in Orem and Saratoga Springs are advertising house parties.
Could it be that Republicans are losing ground in this reddest of states? Or have Obama's marketers tapped into something bigger, such as a national longing to restock plunging social capital and reconnect in meaningful ways?
That's the consensus among Utah partygoers.
"People are hungry to do something determinative in their communities, to clear the air of all this toxic fear and helplessness," said Terry Shepherd, of Red Rock Forests, an environmentalist group. Shepherd's cure: a "Heart of Winter" inaugural bash at Moab brew pub Eddie McStiff's.
City Centered Yoga in Salt Lake City is hosting a free hour of yoga, which studio owner D'ana Baptist sees as "a good way to move toward something that is about community and grass roots."
Past inaugural balls generally have been closed to everyday Americans. But Obama's inaugural committee is urging communities everywhere to host mini-balls to be connected via Web casting and texting. There's even a star-studded "Kid's Inaugural" for broadcast on Disney.
These events, of course, double as political fundraisers. Utah Democrats will hold their inaugural bash at The Depot, a Salt Lake private club. Tickets start at $50.
Retailers, too, are trying to cash in.
Barnes & Noble is hawking commemorative coffee-table books next to "New Year's Resolution" displays on fitness and managing your finances. An online wine store is selling inaugural wine with personalized party labels.
But there's a deeper side to all the revelry.
Schools statewide have seized upon this "where were you when?" moment to conduct lessons on race relations and the peaceful transfer of power.
"There has been an erosion of civic-mindedness in this country, but this election had an energizing effect on our youth," said Sheri Jardine, organizer of a live inaugural viewing at Kingsbury Hall. "It seems like we're
at this moment in history where there's a desire to bridge divides and work together for a better country."
Levine speaks to similar motivations. She and her Liberty Park neighbors began preparations months ago, securing a city permit to barricade their street. They'll celebrate with live music, hot chocolate and a shoe toss involving a life-sized cutout of the current commander-in-chief.
"We haven't forgotten our sense of humor, or sense of community," Levine said. "But any community needs its members to put energy into it. That's what this party is for me."