During rush hour, people of all ages gathered at the intersections on El Camino waving banners, blowing whistles, jumping up and down, and yelling “Hillary” or “Honk your horn for change” or “Obama.” Hillary and Obama signs adorned front yards, light poles, and car rear windows. On the streets and in the cafes people were talking passionately and the topic was the election.
To be sure, the visible excitement was one-sided with the republicans decidedly missing. Throughout the day, scanning the signs, buttons, and placards for some sign of Republican energy, I found none. The democrats, though, more than made up for their absence.
It was as though Palo Altans had awoken after a long slumber to grab hold of their democracy and shake it alive again. Now, just a month later, although placards still adorn front yards, conversations, for the most part, have veered back to the same old thing. Campaign field offices are quiet or shuttered. The hard-core campaign workers have boarded planes to follow their candidate or are holed up with their cell phones calling voters in distant places.
Today, McCain is sitting pretty with the republican nomination in his hand. Hillary and Obama are still at it, fighting for the democratic nomination somewhere else, in some other state, in some other city.
Here in Palo Alto the energy is gone. If only it would come back.