Hot Air: Paoli Power

It’s been three weeks since they stood tall but I want to make sure everybody knows about some plucky, spunky, gutsy people down in Paoli.

On Saturday, January 21st, the day after President Gag’s inauguration and the same day that millions gathered in bigger cities and towns across the nation, several dozen locals marched around the Orange County courthouse and held a rally. Now maybe a crowd of 50 or 75 doesn’t impress you but when you think that Paoli’s entire pop. amounts to some 3600 souls, that’s a pretty nice turnout.

And what’s most important about it, says our town’s Kathy Loser, who attended the event, is it shows the reach of the disaffection even into sleepy, bucolic America. It ain’t just big city swells who are moved to holler about the ascension of L’il Duce and his hate-mongering troglodytes. Loser says she went because there was plenty of support for the big women’s marches in Indy and Louisville and Chi., but the more modest gatherings like Paoli’s needed to be recognized. Loser’s husband, videographer Duane Busick, recorded the event.

Paoli’s march and rally was organized by Dessica Alberston, founder of Progressive Women of Orange County, and Stori Sullivan, founder of We R One OC. Alberston was moved by the shock of November 8th and 9th. “The day after the election, people were grieving,” she told Busick. She turned her grief into action.

Sullivan said the establishment of the two groups and setting up the march and rally all had a singular purpose: “The vision was to unite Orange County and to welcome everybody.”

Busick interviewed several marchers, including an 86-year-old grand dame who said today’s climate of fear is nothing new: white Hoosiers were jittery to their core over the presence of dark-skinned Hoosiers as far back as 1820 when the state was brand new.

Another woman told Busick she’d marched for women’s rights in 1969 at Indiana University. “I never thought we’d have to start the battle again,” she said

A woman spoke into a megaphone at the rally. She urged listeners to know who their legislative representatives are, memorize their phone numbers, and know precisely how they vote on every issue. She said: “I want you to hold their feet to the fire.”

Another took the megaphone. “You people are making me know that I am not crazy,” she said, “that there are good people out there, that it’s not okay to have a president pussy grabber in office.”

She was followed by a woman who proclaimed: “I’m here for the women in the rural community. You’re so often alone…. I’m here because I’m a woman. I’m here because I’m an American.”

As a reminder that proclamations of amity and calls for rights are not universally embraced, a guy in a red pickup truck with an outsized Confederate flag waving from its bed, revved his engine loudly as he circled the square.

Paoli, BTW, is the stomping grounds of current US Sen. Todd Young (R-Indiana). He did not attend the event.

No one should be surprised.

She Has a Hammer — and a Keyboard

I’ll be hammering away at this for the next month or so: the Book Corner will host a reading and signing by Nancy Hiller, author of the forthcoming Making Things Work: Tales from a Cabinetmakers Life. The book is due out in mid-March. We’ve got a date and time set for Nancy’s appearance but we’re waiting to announce it just to make sure the book hits the streets on time.

Publishing is a rough business and Nancy had to slug her way through getting this book printed. The arduous process is just about complete. If anyone’s tough enough to navigate the waters of bookmaking (the literary kind, that is) it’s Nancy Hiller.

Stay tuned for more info.

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