As I recall, de Tocqueville wrote about the American proclivity to form community groups to address various issues.
This account made my day. An excerpt:
No one yet knows it but the groundhog being escorted around by a local realtor and business leader is the Vice President of the local hospital. Each year a well-known business leader sucks it up and secretly suits it up as the groundhog. He or she walks around, waves, shakes paws and is unveiled at the end of the breakfast. As an observer, you are puzzled now but will notice how pleasant everyone is. Members of the business community, elected officials, community members and anyone else who shows up all mingle and talk as the band, Crash and Burn, sets up to begin playing rock and roll favorites for the crowd.