Thursday, February 16, 2006

My Valentine's Day Surprise

Crossposted at Howard-Empowered People

If you spend much time on the "internets", you know that Valentine's Day this year started out under something of a cloud for many of us. Paul Hackett's withdrawal under party pressure from the Ohio Senate race seemed all too familiar to many of us who supported Howard Dean through the primaries. Another party "hit job"--just swell.  Less than a week earlier, I had attended the grand opening of Paul Hackett's campaign headquarters in Columbus. The room was packed, and even though I personally wanted some questions answered before I could fully support Hackett, clearly a lot of people in that room were working hard for him already. And many more were in the process of signing up. The morning of February 14, I couldn't help but think of those volunteers, and the fact that the very moment that they were enthusiastically committing their labor and love and time and money to the Hackett campaign, people like Chuck Schumer were working in the background to cut the legs out from under their efforts. So what's the point?

This post isn't starting out too upbeat, is it? It gets better, I promise...

Shortly after coming back from from a Ted Strickland event, as I was sitting at my computer to write this post, there was a knock at the door. Demetrius answered it, and came into the office to tell me that it was a box from SusanD. I really had no idea what it could be, but quickly opened it to find out. When I opened the box, there were instructions to open the package first (revealing the wonderful quilt you see below) and then read the letter.

The letter started out:

Dear Renee,

This quilt is a physical representation of the appreciation all of us feel at HEP for your efforts in setting up and maintaining the HEP blog site.

Wow! I've been around for a few quilt projects--two for Howard Dean and one for Kimmy's family, but I never dreamed that I would be on the receiving end of one. I am...well, I don't know that I even have adequate words, but for starters, amazed, touched, humbled, grateful...and reinvigorated.

Because, on the note that started this post, politics really does suck. A lot. Why on earth would I choose to spend any of my precious free time on something that sucks that bad? Well, as I said earlier, it's Howard Dean's fault. And it's the rest of you too. It's the wonderful community that he inspired, and you all agree with me that politics as usual sucks. So we're working together towards something better. Sometimes that seems impossible, but we know that the impossible will just take a little while. In addition to Paul Loeb's work that I just linked, sometimes I draw comfort and inspiration from the idea of the Great Turning.

But that's all very theoretical, and sometimes I just need something tangible to hang on to. Thanks to Susan's hard work and all of your participation, now I have that "something tangible" to remind me that this is all about community. Just like Howard said.