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Fred has dinner with an old friend—former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm—while in D.C. for the inauguration.
Courtesy of Fred Hoffman
Returning home after spending a few days in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the 57th presidential inaugural, I want to share a few thoughts . . . .First, it never ceases to amaze me what a wonderful and diverse stew we the American people are becoming. Even though most of us tend to hang out with people who look like us and think like us, these occasions provide an opportunity for that glorious stew to marinate! ---THIS WEEK IN DC, I saw all kinds of people - all ages, colors and nationalities. It was very similar to what I experienced at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte NC in September. The unifying theme, of course, was the presidency of BARACK OBAMA - but I think it goes deeper than that. I think a lot of these folks, maybe for the first time in their lives, are celebrating their ownership in and responsibility for the governance of their country. . . .America truly belongs to ALL of us, not just a narrow class of folks who heretofore had been in charge. --- Second, while the crowd was truly diverse, I was surprised at how few Republicans were in town for what should be a celebration of democracy as nonpartisan as the FOURTH OF JULY. I remember when we were kids, it didn't matter who the President was - we respected him and looked up to him. And on Inauguration Day, we wheeled TVs into the classrooms and watched with pride....This time around, the only Reeps who were there were those who had to be (ie. Speaker Boehner) or those in TV studios who had their anti-Obama talking points in hand as they blasted what I thought was an inspirational Inaugural Address. (What's controversial about arguing for human rights, child safety and diplomacy?) --- Lastly, it was great to see so many Michigan folks in town for the festivities. Although it was very hard to get around (I hoofed it to most places), parties were slated back-to-back in every venue in town. Businesses, labor organizations, interest groups and others all used the Inaugural Weekend to host receptions. The "official" Inaugural Ball, held at the DC Convention Center, drew 40,000 to a jam-packed event where only those on stage have room to dance. The MUST-DO EVENT for local folks, however, was the Michigan Society Ball, held at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and coordinated masterfully by Dearbornite Debbie Dingell. She brought in local performers, including the HFCC Big Band, and Michigan-themed food, such as Sanders ice cream....The president of the Dearborn Democratic Club, Jane Ahern, was there with her husband, Joe Helminski, as was Mary Ann Pigula, who marched in the Inaugural Parade with the Military Spouses of Michigan delegation. And there were lots more! --- Personal Notes: While in town, I had a chance to catch up with lots of old friends, such as Jennifer Granholm, and I also helped host a "parade warm up" at the DC office of my law firm, Clark Hill, which is conveniently located on Pennsylvania Avenue and 7th. And what did I wear for the Ball? A Dominic Pangborn bowtie with a ruffled shirt, studs and dark suit (my fauxtux!)