SMALL BUSINESS “EVERYDAY”

Saturday November 24th is “Small Business Saturday.”  I encourage every American to spend some time, and some “money,” at your local “neighborhood” retailer.  But, the more we look at what the large retailers, the “big box” stores, have done to our local enterprises, and our local economies, the more we should understand why small business Saturday, should be “Small Business Everyday.”

You can probably see by my whiskers that I’m a child of a slightly different era.  It was a time when a bell rang when you pulled into the corner gas station and an attendant came out to pump your gas.  You actually had to ask to pump your own.  I remember them asking if I wanted them to check under the hood.  They noticed if your tires were a little low.  They cleaned your windshield for you, without you asking.  The big store in our neighborhood was the A&P.  It was located in a little “strip mall” not a mile away.  Walking distance, even with an arm full of groceries.  Along the way their were several markets, dry cleaners, and several other small businesses.  In that particular strip mall was, along with the supermarket was a 5 & 10 cent store (S. S. Kresge’s), Mrs Silverstein‘s clothing store, and Cunningham’s Drugs store.  There were others, sorry, but memory fails me.

Along that route were two stores that stand out in my memory.  There was the “Mapleview Market” and “Gus’.”  The street corners they sat on would only be important to those who lived near them at that time, but most of us, from that time, will have memories just like them.

What’s important to remember is that these stores shared a space in time.  Yes, they competed, but they shared a common resource.  The neighborhood.  At different times growing up I must have worked at each of them.  In fact I remember working at the Mapleview Market when the butcher ran out of bologna and he had me run up the Gus’ market and get a roll.  You remember those large, log looking rolls, wrapped in red.  I never knew what that red cover was, and I didn’t want to, so I never asked.

The thing is, there was a social thing going on.  Not socialism. that feared word.  But social in the sense of a shared circumstance, and ultimately a shared outcome.  In many instances the store owner or manager lived right there in the neighborhood.  We knew each other and we benefited from that knowledge.

Another benefit was that the “money” resource stayed right there in the neighborhood.  It would be impossible to calculate just how many times a dollar bill circulated within the area.  I know I saw the same dollar, with the same writing on it, many times.  The same quarter, with the dye on it from the laundromat or a vending machine.

But, times changed.  Cunningham’s was bought out,  Kresge’s became K-mart, A&P’s became Farmer Jack and then disappeared, at least from the old neighborhood.

Now some will say that, well, that’s just progress.  And to the extent that change can be called evolution, and evolution can be called progress, maybe that’s so.  We grow and we change.  But what have we  become?

Much has already been written about the impact of “Big Box” stores, and large chains on neighborhoods and even small towns and cities..

The large chains come into areas and began to buy out many of the existing businesses.  Right away the impact was felt as the resources no longer circulated as much through the neighborhoods.  As businesses are consolidated, or absorbed, jobs were lost and the social structure begin to crumble.  The small businesses that remain, unable to compete with the per unit cost for products, of the larger stores, are forced to close.

As the social structure changes so do relationships and attitudes.  The connectivity begins to erode.  Where people were in touch with each other, passing each other, smiling, greeting, shaking hands, we are now in our cars (those that have them), off to where the stores are, taking our resources with us.

These are my personal thoughts and memories.  I’m providing some links to several sites that offer further comments on this subject.

http://www.allfreeessays.com/essays/The-Effects-Of-Big-Business-On/220977.html

http://www.ilsr.org/key-studies-walmart-and-bigbox-retail/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4001039/ns/business-small_business/t/big-store-or-small-why-consumers-care/#.UKhCleTAetp

You can find more by searching:  “effect of big box stores on neighborhood businesses”

I also found an excellent tool for evaluating the possible of effect of the encroachment of large chains and big box stores to different size and demographic locations that, if you are considering one for your area, or if one is pending, you might want to use.

http://www.bigboxevaluator.org/

(If you are unable to click on these URL’s, copy and paste them to your search box)

It’s hard not to notice what is happening at the Wal-Mart stores.  I’m posting this because I know things don’t have to be this way.  All through the election season, all over the news, there was talk about “small business.”  Small businesses are the job creators.  They are the saviors of the “middle class.”  It’s time to pay more than lip service to their survival.  Small businesses, for the most part, buy their products from other small businesses.  Their growth supports the growth of neighborhoods and cities.

They and we are the “middle class.”  Our survival’s are inextricably connected.

So let’s strive to make “”Small Business Saturday,” Small Business Everyday!”

“STEELE RESOLVE”

I’m going to start by saying that there are few areas in politics where Michael Steele and I agree, particularly regarding some of the issues facing America today.  Still, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.  The fact that he has chosen the current Republican Party, though, is one area that confounds me.  It is, at the same, time both “bewildering and admirable.”

I’ll start with “admirable.”  From the time of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency until that of  Lyndon Johnson a Democrat, African-Americans had a strong reciprocal relationship with the GOP.  With that in mind, it’s not too difficult to understand, from a historical standpoint, how he could make that choice.

Here is an excerpt from the keynote address given to the Jackson County Republicans Lincoln Day Dinner, March 4, 2006.  The speech is entitled:

“The Ship and the Sea: ‘The Party of Lincoln’ and Civil rights.”

“For 150 years, the Republican Party held high the banner of civil rights. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party defended slavery, segregation and allied itself with the Ku Klux Klan to take the vote away from black and white Republicans and terrorize them into submission. Little wonder the Democratic Party was known as the “party of the Klan” well into the 20th century. When Democrats finally embraced the cause of racial freedom in the 1960s, they were the “Johnny come latelys” of the civil rights movement, simply undoing the damage their Party had inflicted on racial minorities during the prior 100 years. We, the Party of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass and Ward Connerly, have a far better claim to civil rights but we have forgotten our own history.”

The entire speech is a must read and it can be found at George Mason University’s “History News Network.”  http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/22526.html

There is another reason that I find Michael’s choice “admirable.”  The lack of African-Americans in prominent positions of authority within the party has been a persistent point of consternation for Blacks throughout the nation, and I have to admit that seeing him being interviewed in 2008, representing the party as head of the Republican National Committee, wearing a baseball cap on occasion, speaking with occasional “street slang,” and vowing to diversify the party, and expand the republican “big tent,” offered a measure of hope that, perhaps, given the emergence of then candidate Barack Obama, the republican’s may have found the right man to counter the drift towards homogeneity the party had taken.  But alas…..

The “hip-hop chairman” image was not something that a large group within the party, ultimately, could embrace.  Still he showed tremendous “resolve” by clearly pointing out some of the problems facing his party.  He worked to find solutions to them and attempted to mitigate some of the concerns that many of those on the “far right” had with reaching out to non-members.  Despite his avowed efforts to open up the party to other African-Americans, to reach out to Latinos, to diversify the thinking on issues important to women, the “LGBT community” and other specific demographics within the electorate, all that many within his party saw was that “cap.”

After, what turned out to be, an expected loss to now President Obama in November 2008, the party decided to circle the wagons around their fundamentalist right-wing dogma, and in spite of leading, what turned out to be a remarkably successful 2010 mid-term election run for Republican candidates (the Republican’s gained 60 House seats, 7 seats in the Senate, and 7 Governorships), Michael found himself “odd (at least to their way of thinking) man out.”  In January 2011 was replaced by Reince Priebus.

For all of the party’s finger-pointing, casting aspersions upon the chairman,and, in my opinion, not giving him proper credit, one thing was true.  Michael had correctly pointed his finger at a whole host of problems, that would come back to haunt the party in ways that, though it shouldn’t have, seemed to catch them completely by surprise.

Watching and listening to Michael in the weeks leading up to the November, though it was obvious that he wasn’t surprised.  With the republicans, having moved away from their 2010 mantra of jobs, jobs, jobs to an all out assault on social programs, women’s right’s, voter suppression, anti-union efforts, their reluctance to discuss immigration reform, their fundamentalist attitude’s about marriage, his frustration with the party could be seen on his face and heard in his voice.

So, this is where the “bewilderment” comes in.

Why, given the way they treated him and the direction the party has taken, would Michael want to, again run for chairman of the RNC.  Could it be that his love for his party is greater than his disgust with what they have  become?  Could it be that what he wants is his party back?  “The Party of Lincoln?”  The party of Frederick Douglas?  The party of  Ward Connerly?  The party of Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower?  Could he want it back?

Again, I am not a Michael Steele fan.  I am, though, a fan of commitment, a fan of devotion.  It’s clear to me [that] Michael’s commitment and devotion extends “to and beyond” his party, to all of America.

So go for it, Bro.  This time, though, I hope they love you back.

“POOPY HEAD PETULANCE” (UPDATED – 11/15/12)

Thank you Grover Norquist!  You’ve given a name to our pain.  “Poopy head!”  I couldn’t have done it better.  You’ve also inspired me.  When I heard you say “poopy head” during your interview on CBS‘ “This Morning,” it sounded so childish, I thought back to another characteristic of childish behavior, “petulance.”  I thought of a little kid, falling on the floor, kicking and screaming, holding their breath, threatening to run away.  I thought about the kid on the playground that get’s mad and takes his toys and goes home.

Well, if Romney is an example of a “poopy head,” I figured there must be more of them out there like him, so I looked around, found a few that I think fit the discription, and I’ve decided to put some “poopy head’s” and some examples of “petulance” together.  Here are a few:

Petulance is whininess and irritability. Your least favorite thing about the kids you babysit might be their petulance:

“RESIDENTS IN MORE THAN A DOZEN STATES PETITION WHITE HOUSE TO SECEDE FROM UNITED STATES”  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/12/secession-petition-white-house_n_2116620.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

The noun petulance is the quality of being fretful, complaining, petty, or generally cranky:

“BUSINESS OWNER FIRED EMPLOYEES WHO VOTED FOR OBAMA”  http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/4141208

Petulance is not a pleasant characteristic — it’s almost always described negatively, like when you talk about the childishness and petulance of your constantly whining boss:

“PAPA JOHN’S ONLY INSURES ONE IN THREE WORKERS, BUT CEO TRIES TO BLAME OBAMACARE IT THAT DROPS”  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/12/1160864/-Papa-John-s-only-insures-one-in-three-workers-but-CEO-tries-to-blame-Obamacare-if-that-drops

Petulance is the condition or quality of being irritable, peevish, or impatient:

“THE OBAMACARE LAYOFFS BEGIN…”   http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/333089/obamacare-layoffs-begin-jillian-kay-melchior#

“OBAMA REELECTION TRIGGERS MASSIVE LAYOFFS ACROSS AMERICA”  http://nation.foxnews.com/2012-presidential-election/2012/11/09/obama-reelection-triggers-massive-layoffs-across-america

“OBAMA KEEPS JOB; OTHERS LOSE THEIRS”  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/11/obama-keeps-job-others-lose-theirs/

Now I know all business people are not “poopy heads.”  The same for all conservatives and republicans.  So if “the shoe don’t fit don’t wear it.”  I know there are more of them out there, though, and when I find them I’m going to call them out.  If you know of a few, leave a comment or send me an e-mail and we’ll get them posted.

(Update)

Here are some more PETULANT POOPY HEADS:”

Jennifer Anderson, Davis Ace Hardware Owner, Apologizes For Urging Employees To Vote Romney  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/12/jennifer-anderson-davis-ace-hardware-romney_n_2118825.html?ref=topbar

John Metz, Denny’s Franchisee And Hurricane Grill & Wings Owner, Imposes Surcharge For Obamacare  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/john-metz-hurricane-grill-wings-dennys_n_2122412.html

Impeach Obama Robocall Campaign Launched By Conservative Group  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/impeach-obama-robocall-campaign_n_2132682.html

Mitt Romney: Obama Won With ‘Gifts’ To Blacks, Hispanics, Young Voters  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/mitt-romney-obama-gifts_n_2133529.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

Applebee’s franchise owner says he’ll stop hiring because Obamacare   http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/13/1161321/-Applebee-s-franchise-owner-says-he-ll-stop-hiring-because-Obamacare

Thank You!  Keep the “POOPY HEADS” coming!

THANK YOU ANDREW MANIS, THANK YOU FOR ASKING “THIS” QUESTION!

Over the last week I’ve received e-mails from three people asking me to read and respond about “what a white reporter wrote in a Georgia Newspaper.  The “forward list” on all three were quite long, it looked like a mass e-mailing of sort.  After reading the article I saw that it was not so much a news article, but a piece submitted for an editorial  in the Macon Telegraph, not long after Barack Obama was first elected President.  Each e-mail said this was a “must read and pass along,” and I totally agree.

I’m going to post it for you here in its entirety.  Leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this.

Andrew M. Manis is associate professor of history at Macon State College in Georgia and wrote this for an editorial in the Macon Telegraph.

Andrew M. Manis: When Are WE Going to Get Over It?

For much of the last forty years, ever since America “fixed” its race problem in the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, we white people have been impatient with African-Americans who continued to blame race for their difficulties. Often we have heard whites ask, “When are African-Americans finally going to get over it?  Now I want to ask:

“When are we White Americans going to get over our ridiculous obsession with skin color?

Recent reports that “Election Spurs Hundreds’ of Race Threats, Crimes” should frighten and infuriate every one of us. Having grown up in “Bombingham,” Alabama in the 1960s, I remember overhearing an avalanche of comments about what many white classmates and their parents wanted to do to John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Eventually, as you may recall, in all three cases, someone decided to do more than “talk the talk.”

Since our recent presidential election, to our eternal shame we are once again hearing the same reprehensible talk I remember from my boyhood.

We white people have controlled political life in the disunited colonies and United States for some 400 years on this continent.

Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Even during the eight Clinton years, conservatives in Congress blocked most of his agenda and pulled him to the right. Yet never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes. Criticize them, yes.

Call for their impeachment, perhaps. But there were no bounties on their heads. And even when someone did try to kill Ronald Reagan, the perpetrator was non-political mental case who wanted merely to impress Jody Foster.

But elect a liberal who happens to be Black and we’re back in the sixties again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we’ve proven what conservatives are always saying — that in America anything is possible, EVEN electing a black man as president.

But instead we now hear that school children from Maine to California are talking about wanting to “assassinate Obama.”

Fighting the urge to throw up, I can only ask, “How long?”

How long before we white people realize we can’t make our nation, much less the whole world, look like us?

How long until we white people can – once and for all – get over this hell-conceived preoccupation with skin color?

How long until we white people get over the demonic conviction that white skin makes us superior?

How long before we white people get over our bitter resentments about being demoted to the status of equality with non-whites?

How long before we get over our expectations that we should be at the head of the line merely because of our white skin?

How long until we white people end our silence and call out our peers when they share the latest racist jokes in the privacy of our white-only conversations?

I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loudmouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners?

How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?

How long before we start “living out the true meaning” of our creeds, both civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that “red and yellow, black and white” all are precious in God’s sight?

Until this past November 4, I didn’t believe this country would ever elect an African American to the presidency. I still don’t believe I’ll live long enough to see us white people get over our racism problem.

But here’s my three-point plan:

First, everyday that Barack Obama lives in the White House that Black Slaves Built, I’m going to pray that God (and the Secret Service) will protect him and his family from us white people.

Second, I’m going to report to the FBI any white person I overhear saying, in seriousness or in jest, anything of a threatening nature about President Obama.

Third, I’m going to pray to live long enough to see America surprise the world once again, when white people can “in spirit and in truth” sing of our damnable color prejudice,

“We HAVE overcome.”

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It takes a Village to protect our President!!!

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Dr. Manis,

I appreciate you more, far more, than I can say.  How Long?  The question has been asked for so, so long.  The problem is that for so long we African-Americans have waited for someone other than us to ask the question.  For someone other than us to search for solutions.  I thank you for doing both.

Your editorial harkens back to a time when the struggle was in full force.  It was March 25, 1965 when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King asked the same question, standing on the steps of the State Capitol in Montgomery Alabama.  This was after the successful completion of the march from Selma to Montgomery.

Let’s reflect on excerpts from his speech.

“The battle is in our hands. And we can answer with creative nonviolence the call to higher ground to which the new directions of our struggle summons us. (Yes, sir)
The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. (No)
There are no broad highways that lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. But we must keep going.”

“Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding. We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man. (Yes)”

“I know you are asking today, “How long will it take?” (Speak, sir)
Somebody’s asking, “How long will prejudice blind the visions of men, darken their understanding, and drive bright-eyed wisdom from her sacred throne?” Somebody’s asking, “When will wounded justice, lying prostrate on the streets of Selma and Birmingham and communities all over the South, be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men?” Somebody’s asking, “When will the radiant star of hope be plunged against the nocturnal bosom of this lonely night, (Speak, speak, speak) plucked from weary souls with chains of fear and the manacles of death? How long will justice be crucified, (Speak) and truth bear it?” (Yes, sir)

I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, (Yes, sir) however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, (No sir) because “truth crushed to earth will rise again.” (Yes, sir) How long? Not long, (Yes, sir) because “no lie can live forever.” (Yes, sir)
How long? Not long, (All right. How long) because “you shall reap what you sow.” (Yes, sir)”

“How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

The fact that we are still asking that question today, 47 years later, well…!  Rev. King asked, “How Long?”  When others like you ask that question, “Not Long” may be closer than ever.  We can only pray.

Thank you again, Andrew Manis.  Thank you!

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For more on race-ethnic relations search for “Wisconsin Why???” on this site.

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HEY MITT, YOU DIDN’T BUILD THIS DEFEAT BY YOURSELF!

Hey Mitt,

I’m going to resist the temptation to gloat.  Well, maybe just a little bit ( NAH-NA-NA-NAH-NAH).  Okay, now I’ve got that out of my system.  Seriously though, I and a whole lot of American’s had real problems with you, from tax returns to policy shifts.  But, it seems that you had a whole lot help in bringing about this defeat.

Let’s start with you first.  Your refusal to reveal your tax documents was a problem, but not your most significant one.  The truth is [that] if you had revealed them it may have helped you.  It’s possible that had you done so it would have given the voters a look at just who the real Mitt Romney is.  America doesn’t have a problem with wealthy people.  We’ve had many leaders that have come from privilege.  Given the cost of getting elected today if you don’t have significant resources, or access to them, it is difficult to run for any office at any level.  That’s not your problem, that’s a problem for America.

But without the anchor of an identity, you seemed to most of us to be like a ship without a rudder, cast upon the sea of our democracy, with no discernible direction, no way for us, the voters, to know just where you would lead us.  So with no real understanding of the captain of the “great ship republican” at sea, we only had the republican ship to see.  What we saw, well, was downright scary.

Just take a look, from our perspective, and you can see what we saw.  We saw Todd Akin and Richard Murdock.  We saw Scott Walker and, your own choice for VP, Paul Ryan.  We saw John Kachich and John Husted.  We saw Rick Scott and Rick Detzner.  We saw Jeff Flake in Arizona telling people to go to the wrong polling place.

We heard John Sununu and Donald Trump.  We heard Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck,  Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham,  Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.  We heard Newt Gringrich and  Grover Norquist.

We read the Washington Times and The National Review.

We saw the attacks on President Obama, the our of context quotes, the distortions, the outright lies.

We saw the assault on women’s rights to reproductive choices and access to healthcare.

We saw the disdain your party had for Latinos, the contempt for the LGBT community.

We saw how the African-American community was discounted.

We watched your party’s attempts to suppress the vote.  We watched them attempt to game the system.  We even saw overt, blatant attempts to cheat.  The margin for the President was about 3 million votes, but we will never know how many voters were affected by your party’s efforts, how those efforts affected down ballot races and initiatives.

Now I know you will say that they are not you, but since you chose not to reveal who you were, and you chose not to rebuke them, we were left to conclude that they “are” you, or at least that you believe and feel as they do.

Even your opponents agreed that you are a good man.  A family man with strong values and principles.  But we never got to see that part of you.  By not taking a stand you became a part of a stance that America rejected.

So you see, it was a collective effort.  What just occurred was not a rejection of just you, but a rejection of what your party has become.  If only you had been you, someone with a recognizable identity, someone we could relate to and understand, then perhaps….

You know the last republican president was also a good man.  A man of values and principles.  But ideology led him, and the people around him, to take America to a place where the needs of the few outweighed the needs of the many.  We’ve been there and we’ve decided that’s not where we want to be.

So it wasn’t just your many you’s, that lost last Tuesday, it was your party and the way it operates.  There’s plenty of blame to go around and plenty of people to share the blame.

You did not build this by yourself.

OH(BAMA) WHAT A NIGHT!!!!!

OH WHAT A NIGHT.

Candidate Barack Obama made history in November 2008.  That’s true.  But what President Barack Obama has done in November  2012 is truly historic.  When all is considered, when the story is told, not through the simplistic lens of who won and who lost, America will shudder at revelations revealed by this electoral process, but in the end stand tall in revelry at her ability to stand up against the powerful whose will is, not to live up to the founder’s intent to “form a more perfect union,” but to create a union that “perfectly” suits their purposes.

The Republicans, over the last four years, have used virtually every underhanded tactic imaginable.  They’ve lied, they’ve deceived, they’ve cheated, they’ve attempted to make a mockery of the very process that makes this the greatest country in the world.  They vowed to obstruct the President, and turned around and attempted to blame him for the slow recovery of our economy.  They’ve challenged his birth origin, his citizenship, his legitimacy as President.  They’ve challenged his love of America.  They’ve call him a liar, a Muslim, they’ve refused to acknowledge any of his accomplishments.  Indeed many Republicans, including Romney, have tried to co-op the things he has been able to get done, while at the same time, retreating from their own policies simply because the President embraced them and tried to implement them.  They accused President of “palling around with terrorist,” said that “he has apologized for America around the world,” castigated him for attending a church with a radical preacher (is he Muslim or Baptist?)  They’ve attacked his wife, and family.  They even went after his dog.  They didn’t stop with the kitchen sink, they threw the whole damn kitchen at him and he didn’t flinch.  He didn’t back down.

The amazing thing about this race, is that it was so close.  How, in the face of all the lies, in the face of all the stupid challenges, in the face of all the obstructive tactics by the Republicans, with their attacks on minorities, with their assault on women’s rights, their shifting positions on issues, with their disdain for the LGBT community, their overt attempts to suppress the vote, could anyone have voted for Romney or any of the republicans running for office.  It’s amazing to me.

But, in the end, “Oh what a night.”

I was at the Michigan Democratic Headquarters, in the Grand Ballroom at the MGM Grand Hotel, on election night, and there was, remarkable as it may seem, an air of confidence in the room as I arrived, about 8:30.  Everyone that I spoke with was upbeat, even as the early returns showed the electoral count favoring candidate Romney.  When the polls in the east began to close, the early projections showed the challenger with a 33 to 3 lead, with Romney winning the early vote in the south plus Indiana and the President winning Vermont.  Still I didn’t sense any panic among his supporters.  There was an energy in the calm, though.  There was much on the table with the US Congress elections and several other important down ballot contests and initiatives, that had the attention of the attendee’s.

By 9:00, with more polls beginning to close, more projections had been made.   The President had been projected to win all of New England (except New Hampshire, which soon came on board), Michigan, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.  But with Romney winning Arkansas and Tennessee, CBS News projected that Romney was leading the President in electoral votes 88 to 78.  With each state projection there were cheers or boos depending on who won or lost, but there was no panic, just an expectation that everything was going to be just fine.

An hour and a half into the evening  you could feel the excitement building inside the room.  A little past 9:30 newly re-elected Congressman John Conyers approached the podium to address the crowd and a raucous cheer erupted in the room.  Conyers, who had faced a primary challenge after being the victim of redistricting by a republican state legislature that moved him from the 14th district to the newly aligned 13th district handily, defeated Republican challenger Harry Sawacki.  (This is another example (alignment of voting districts),  a perfect example, of why elections matter.  Even down ballot.

After a few words the congressman introduced newly re-elected Senator Debbie Stabenow to the crowd.  The crowd went berserk  as the Senator took to the podium.

The Senator, armed with the endorsement of the republican-leaning Michigan Farm bureau, easily defeated republican Pete Hoekstra to return to Washington for a third term.  Hoekstra, if you’ll remember was widely criticized for running a controversial ad that featured an Asian woman talking in broken english about China taking our American jobs.  An ad that even some republicans rebuked as racially tinged and insensitive.  He attempted to brand Sen. Stabenow as the “follower-in-chief” because of her relationship with President Obama, and ran numerous negative ads on TV and the internet as he tried to bring her down, but the Senator stayed strong and positive.  “I am proud that we stuck with our positive message about what we’ve gotten done for Michigan,” said Stabenow.

As we approached 10:00 we had more projections.  Pennsylvania for Obama.  Moments later New Hampshire, Wisconsin (so much for the VP home-state bump), and Minnesota.  The vote was so close at this point that CNN was projecting Romney ahead by 152 -143, NBC projected Obama ahead 158-153, and Fox News Channel had it as a tie 153 electoral votes a piece.

Between 10 and 11:00 Romney picked up Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, Utah and Montana and there was a slight nervousness in the crowd, but that all went away at 11:00 when the west coast polls closed.  Pandemonium broke out in the ballroom when it was announced that California, Washington State, Hawaii, followed by New Mexico and Iowa were going to The President.

The exuberance began to ebb, somewhat, as we became aware that Ohio was pending.  At 11:13 NBC announced that President Obama was going to win Ohio and moments later announced Barack Obama would be re-elected President of the United States.  As you can imagine the excitement, the energy, the anticipation all came together and the ballroom could not contain it all.  It spilled out of the room, down the hallways, throughout the hotel.  It was Christmas and New Years eve all wrapped up in one.

I don’t know about you guys, but I was ready for a cigarette.  What a night!  I wasn’t surprised by the outcome (I had predicted that President Obama would win with 331 electoral votes.  He finished with 332).  As much as I believed in the President, I also believed in the American People.  Yes, the republican party did everything possible to steal this election.  Yes, their candidate flip-flopped all over the place and outright lied about himself and the President.  But America saw through it all and did the right thing.  I wrote in a previous post a thank you to the voters, and I really mean it.  There is much yet do and I believe our President is going to get it done, from completing his healthcare initiative to Wall Street reform.  We are going to have tax and immigration reform.  Hopefully we’ll get campaign finance reform, a change in the way we conduct national elections and a change in the filibuster.  President Obama, not burdened by re-election, can use his executive powers to enact programs if the congress does not.  America is moving forward and the Republicans can’t stop us.  It’s time to get to work.

First though, I’m gonna have that smoke.

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Here’s some more pictures from election night at the MGM Grand Hotel:

Senator Debbie Stabenow greets her supporters

Supreme Court Candidates, (left to right)Connie Kelley, Sheila Johnson and Bridget McCormack.
McCormack was the only winner.

EVENT ATTENDEES:

THANK YOU AMERICA!!!!!

Thank you America.

Thank you for seeing through the haze.

Thank you for proceeding through the maze.

Thank you for not allowing the hate and fear mongers to direct and control your thinking.

Thank you for believing in yourself and your judgement.

Thank you for moving forward, not backward, towards our future.

Thank you for your faith.

Thank you for re-electing Barack Obama [the] President of the United States.

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