Thursday, November 8, 2012

Florida, Blue? Who Knew?

Yes, four years ago my adopted state of Florida went for Barack Obama. I was stunned and amazed. Since that time though, things have gone steadily downhill for progressives in the Sunshine State - especially in my neck of the woods. Since the election of Rick Scott for Governor, Florida has been paddling backward at an alarming rate.

Working with the public, though often rewarding, can be onerous for those of us with an outspoken bent. Just once, while placing the 500th hold on a Glen Beck title, I'd love to be able to look up sweetly from the reference desk and say, "how can you read that junk?" But of course, that's not how we librarians role. We believe in something to offend everyone!

Over the past year the atmosphere has become more and more toxic and I'm always flummoxed when someone presumes that I might share their mean spirited views towards humanity, blacks, the poor, immigrants, the unemployed, you name it. We in public service are often sitting ducks for abuse, tethered to a desk where we are expected to grin and bear it.

Not long ago a well-to-do customer came in to use the Internet as the service hadn't yet been hooked up in his second home. "What are all these people doing here in the middle of the day," he asks. "You let them stay here on the computers all day?" ( I'll leave you to figure out the racial make-up of "these" people)
"Looking for jobs," I respond, "or weren't you aware that we have a 12% unemployment rate here in Lee County right now?" Grrrrr.....

Yesterday, election day, I think I hit a low point for depression and disappointment. Our building is a polling place. What a great way to see the system at work! Except that two of the poll workers took their afternoon break in our supper room. They were loudly excoriating the president, teachers, unions, New Yorkers (where'd that come from?), and expressing their firm belief that the world as we know it would end if President Obama were to be re-elected. Silly me, I always thought poll workers were supposed to at least act non-partisan.

On a more upbeat note, at my polling place, I ran into all my Republican friends at once. I cracked up. Our wait was doable - an hour and a half - and we all had a chance to express ourselves. Even if we philosophically disagree about government and its responsibility to the least of our brothers, we all live in harmony in our little community and we are all there for each other.

An elderly woman, painfully thin and relying on a walker, was treated with such deference when she arrived. I wished I could take a picture of her as she exemplified to me the best of the democratic system. It couldn't have been easy for her to be there but by golly she was, like the Delaney sisters, "having her say."

So now the election is over. I can turn my answering machine on again and not be held hostage to the robo-calls. I'm obviously pleased and relieved at the outcome but worried too. I'm online too much. I see the horrific, inexplicable hatred that anonymous posters spew into the cloud about this good man whose burden is so ferociously heavy and I'm scared. Here's hoping that whatever gods or fates are out there will work their magic and help our country come together and work for the common good.

Now I can put my papers aside for a few days and get back to my real world - fiction!!


Anonymous said...

Oh Sally, I sympathize. I was truly exhausted after Tuesday, and then yesterday had to listen to all the disgruntled complain.....and I don't work anymore. I am never sure if I am just getting old and grumpy, or if the tenor of our nation is truly deteriorating at an unbelievable rate.
I am not able to read as much as I once did, but still check your reviews out every week, and marvel at your skill. You are a credit to our profession and our community!. Dorothy

Sallyb said...

Oh Dorothy, so wonderful to hear from you. I,too,feel old and grumpy lately. I haven't even accepted that the president won re-election even though I bought 5 newspapers to convince myself that it was true!
Thank you for your kind words. I'm so sorry you don't read as much as you used to. That Kindle got you down? Audio. Audio.