I spend Saturday Feb 7 and Sunday Feb 8 at Rootscamp 2009 in Columbus – a statewide gathering for hard core activists- and I Am Buzzed! The weekend began with a stop for cocktails and conversation at a place becoming Well Known to Me. Ran into several friends, including lobbyist Bob Lambert, and – in casual conversation with a man I have seen but had never gone past hello – I found out that he does business with my aquaintences Steve and Beth Jordan. He has been to their house in Wadsworth, and knew what their kids were doing: small world. Up early on Sat morning, as I wanted to get to Columbus by 8:30 for a 9am start – the effective start was at 9:30. I was there representing Ohioans for Democratic Values.
Lee Fisher gave us a motivating talk Sat AM, and he told us that the seminal event that send him into progressive politics was on May 5, 1970. (Actually, it was May 4, Lee – May 5 is Karl Marx’s birthday!) He was a freshman at Oberlin at the time, and – for some reason – the shootings of students at Kent State had struck a cord. Anthony Fossaceca of Ohio Daily Blog was there, and you can see his detailed interview with Lee at http://www.ohiodailyblog.com.
The format is to get together at the start, at the end, and at lunch: the rest of the time is presentations in break-out sessions. (No – a breakout session is not what happens to adolescents before the prom!). I gave two presentations: one on “What we can learn from the great depression”, the other my Senior Voice talk on Medicare. The former – which I had created out of whole cloth – was also very well received. These sessions were in classrooms – about the same era as my undergrad days, and I was able to write on the boards with chalk! At lunch, I was talking with a man who had been at my first session, and he told me that he had been on the school board at Bowling Green for 20 years. I asked him if he knew Mike Schertzer, an ag-ed teacher at BGHS. He spoke very highly of Mike. “How do you know him?” he asked. His wife is my wife’s cousin – small world. This man also told me at some length that I should be a college teacher. His profession? Full professor of journalism at CMU. We were privileged to have new Treasurer of State Kevin Boyce speak to us at lunch.
I attended several sessions that afternoon, and then went to my motel – a Red Roof in downtown. Prepared myself for Close Encounters with Other Humans, and then walked over to a Max & Ermas for the evening repast. I decided to find out what it would be like to sit at a bar, and I had a martini (tried it because if you are going to try drinking, you might as well appear to be sophisticated.) To my left, there was a 20’s something couple, and I noticed that the lady- Very Attractive- was a very animated speaker. Upon Further Review, I decided that they were ‘signing’. I wondered which one – or if both – were impaired. That was answered when She spoke with a server. As they left, I observed that his jaw looked slightly off sync, and wondered if it was family, professional help, or True Love: child of a lesser gene pool. In any case, it was a heart warming experience, the kind that a neocon would never appreciate.
In the am, I had a ‘continental breakfast’ at the Red Roof, and went back to the Smith Lab at OSU for the second day of Rootscamp. (BTW, the cost for ‘Sleep Cheap’ and casual dinning was $194.)
My daughter Valerie lives in Columbus, and is an RN at an OSU hospital, but she was in Chicago with friends this weekend.
One session I attended on Sunday was on media. We decided that we will never take talk radio away from the conservatives, but that we own the internet: I’ll take that! Another session I attended was on blogging, and this is the result. It was lead by the above mentioned Anthony, and also by Nicholas DeCenzo- buckeyestateblog.com – check it out.
At the wrapup new AG Rich Cordray spoke, thanking us for our help, and bringing us up to date on both state and national issues. Karen Gaspar is leaving America Votes after four years, to work for Rich – Thanks Karen.
This was the largest rootscamp outside of DC – now wonder we have turned Ohio around!
Saw some old friends, made some new one’s, drove home, and That Was The WeekEnd That Was…