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This is my fifth year at Netroots Nation, and it really feels like coming home. I'm sure that figuring out how to pack my community quilt in my carry-on luggage has something to do with a feeling of home.
I've been remembering my first NN in Pittsburgh, where I was shy and a little uncomfortable - not because of others, but it's my usual way of being with people I don't know or that I admire. A highlight of that trip was sitting after the final keynote and talking for a couple of hours with Kitsap River and Chacounne. The second, even in Vegas, felt very different. It's so much nicer to come back and meet old friends.
This year I find that even meeting people I haven't met before is like meeting old friends. I have even introduced some new people to kossacks they especially wanted to meet.
Learning is a given. The first panel I attended was about the Supreme Court and included people who have worked on important cases and Rick Jacobs. This was a curious feeling of meeting people whose names appear of the multiple emails I receive every day, but the discussion was one of the best I have ever heard at NN.
At the opening keynote I was especially pleased to see Sandra Fluke - though Barney Frank and Howard Dean were terrific and Jeff Merkley, who almost didn't make it, outlined our agenda over the next year clearly and concisely, while our greetings from the California and San Jose office-holders were warm and welcoming.
I also flew into LAX and drove up the coast, something I have wanted to do since the 1960's - another instance of my being able to complete the 60's during my 60's - a delightful aspect of my ageing.
So this community has become part of my extended family - my meshpuchah (a Yiddish word that means family, but also, like many Yiddish words, so much more) includes so many of you. I get angry from time to time, I get hurt, I stay away - but you are all part of me, and meeting with you is coming home.