How many Americans are taking time off to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama as President?
I don't know, but in addition to the millions going to DC, there are reports of HUGE numbers of private and civic celebrations. I have not seen ANYTHING like that in over 48 years of seeing presidents come into office.
In my apartment building, a few of us thought we were being innovative in suggesting a little potluck in the common room ("The Fireside Lounge"). We like potlucks, it's got a big TV, and we might meet some new people. We're rigorously nonpartian in our parties, all are welcome - so building management jumped on the idea, now there's signs all over the building and it's going to be a PARTY!
It's still a potluck. We'll be passing around voter registration forms, since politics have not come to a halt; we're having a special election in a few weeks so everyone needs to be sure their voter registration is o.k. Nonpartisan partying and civic responsibility are peanut butter and chocolate.
But that's in the evening. In the morning, to watch the inauguration realtime, a few of us are meeting for brunch (potluck again). So just in our own building, there are TWO parties. Meanwhile, I've gotten invitations to several OTHER private parties, not even counting the public parties all over Seattle - a partial list is here.
HOW MANY Americans are watching this inauguration? Who knows, but it's an historic opportunity we're not gonna miss!
And ON TOP OF THAT, you'll notice in that list that there is a large number of civic-service opportunities being pitched for Monday, the Martin Luther King, Jr holiday. Previously, I have always held that MLK Day is the best civic holiday, because it has no expectations: no mandatory meals, no required rituals or obligatory gift shopping. We're just free that day, free to be free, thank God almighty!
But it may be changing, and improving, to a day of civic service.
Wowser! What a genius concept! A holiday where we work together. As the motto goes: "Not a day off, but a day of service!"
Me, I'll be putting in my normal 3 hours of stocking books at the Mercer Island Thrift Store. It raises money for youth and family services, and it's fun to work together with a great group of people who, over the years, have become friends. And afterwards, my lovely wife & I just might hit a pub.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." ( John 13:34-35)
"Whatever you want others to do for you, do so for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." ( Matthew 7:12)
"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward in heaven will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men." ( Luke 6:35)
"Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many." ( Mark 10:43-45)
"If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you." ( John 13:14-15)