The Amazon Trail

 

Happy Dance

by Lee Lynch

 

Okay, so there are a few who stare mutely at my Bo Obama button, mouths open, like they still can’t believe they lost to us commie hippie queer vile and disgusting President Obama-supporters, but that’s what watching FOX TV can do to people. The station is a teleprompter for viewers, scrolling non-stop scripts detailing what to think, say and do in the voting booths.

 

The rest of us appear to be doing happy dances.  Today a white clerk at Publix, looking at the Bo button, said, “So you’re happy about how the election went?” A little wary, I answered, “Yes, I am.” Then I asked, “Are you?”  “Oh, yes,” she replied, smiling, “I am!”

 

Yesterday, another compete stranger, grinning madly, commented, “We did it!” I said, “Yes, we did.” She kind of quietly sang, “It’s about time.”  Our eyes held and I echoed, “Yes, we can.”

 

Before the election, people weren’t as articulate. “I like your button,” was something I heard a lot.  They were worried. So was I.  My sweetheart and I live in a conservative stronghold. There were roads on which I could not bear drive because the plethora of Romney/Ryan signs were too disheartening. One local candidate identified herself in red, white and blue as a conservative Republican.  Sprinkled among the vote-for-me signs were big, loud, black on white warnings: “Fire Obama.”

 

It wasn’t about the man, we all knew that. This confrontational campaigning was about fear.  Racism, many of us acknowledged to one another. That was one word not used on the campaign trails. But you could hear it behind the name-calling: commies, homosexuals, and that most derogatory of words, women.

 

Yeah, well, that backfired. More women than ever are running this country now and more people could give a fig about gays marrying. The racism, though, you can’t make much headway against that. Millions of Americans see our President as a precedent they want to discourage. You could see terror shaking the forests of placards, you could hear prayers begging the heavens to keep public offices white.

 

I saw one Obama sign during all those weeks of campaigning. Republican-voting people slapped R/R bumper stickers on their cars, next to “My Child Is a Terrific Kid!” and stick figure families depicting the drivers’ procreational rates of success. Obama stickers, not so much. The revolution is pretty quiet around here.

 

Here being Florida, where lines of voters stretched around the block in some towns. Where three days after the election, votes are still being tabulated. Where so many voting sites had problems, hanging chads became ancient history. Where wildly divisive Representative Allen West is suing somebody, anybody, everybody because he lost to a 29 year-old Democrat who believes in unifying.

 

During the last two weeks before the election, a retirement-aged white guy set up shop on a strip of grass along a local highway here in the land of a-church-on-every-corner. He planted his Republican placard forest and sat in a lawn chair next to a flashy classic Corvette, held an American flag, and waved to drivers for hours.  Surprisingly few horns honked in support as they sped by. There was a whiff of desperation about his lone electioneering. I saw it again on the grim face of a woman in a Romney t-shirt, as if the world as she knew it would end if her candidate lost.

 

She was right to be grim, just as the flag waver was right to be desperate. An NPR commentator said that the pattern of votes cast in this state demonstrates that people are actually using reason. The long lines are at least partly due to the length of Florida’s ballot, pages of it. Floridians voted down almost all proposed amendments to the constitution and the three that passed evidenced a compassion for the low income elderly, first responders, veterans and military widows.

 

So thank you to the friend who gave me the Bo button. Thank you to my sweetheart who writes:

 

President Obama doesn’t represent the end of all that is good – he represents the end of all that is bad. His isn’t the party of free handouts, or taxing the rich into poverty, or stamping out the right to observe your religion.

 

His party is about YES:  YES we will get Americans back on their feet; YES we will enable industry to create jobs for Americans; YES we will help people to be tax-paying Americans; YES we will foster tolerance, not hate; YES we will not fight a war that only enriches the pockets of our supporters. Yes we can and yes we will.

 

I’d like to live in a bluer state, but while here, I’m doing happy dances with everyone who acknowledges my Bo button.

Copyright Lee Lynch 2012

18 Responses to “The Amazon Trail”


  1. 1 Renee Bess November 27, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    Thank you, Lee and your sweetheart, for your clear-headed thinking and your kind and good hearts. May your words reach some of your (and my) neighbors whose minds and hearts are clouded with hatred and fear.

    Like

  2. 3 Glenda Poulter November 27, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    This article is full of hope and I share that hope in my own conservative stronghold, central North Carolina. I had to run the gauntlet of pro-Republican placards everyday on my way to work, but I also had the uplifting experience of people commenting positively on my rainbow/Obama sticker next to my HRC equality sticker. We did it, and Yes we can continue to unify this country and fight for equality for all. Thank you, Lee, for a wonderful article.

    Like

  3. 5 Connie November 27, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    Again Lee, you say it so well. Thanks for all your many years of helping those who can’t say it as well & many more to come.

    Like

  4. 7 Kim November 27, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    Lee thanks so much for your insightful comments. In a state that went red I sometimes feel like the lone ranger. My partner and her family were saying there’s not much hope. Thankful for 4 more years of opportunity.

    Like

  5. 9 S.A. November 27, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Well stated. (And it’s neat to get an “insider’s” perspective to the outcome in a swing state.😉

    Like

  6. 11 solargrrl November 27, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Excellent blog. Thanks for wearing the Bo button. In your neck of the woods, that was an act of courage. It is interesting, that it seems that those of us who live in red states, were shy about announcing our preferences in the election, vs. all the Romney signs plastered on hillsides and along streets. Wonder why that was? Is it because we didn’t trust the type of ‘bully’ tactics that Romney had shown he was capable of? Were we afraid of possible verbal, or worse, physical harassment? Whatever the reason, I’m so grateful for the privacy of the voting booth. And I’m grateful that the majority of the American public can still use their minds and hearts to make a decision to be part of the YES party, as Elaine so eloquently stated.
    Keep doing those Happy Dances, Lee! We have much to celebrate.

    Like

  7. 13 Erin Saluta November 27, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    The perfect way to sum up the start of our next four years of history. Thank you for sharing and for standing up in your own state so that we all can and will make a difference. Happy dance away!!!

    Like

  8. 14 lynchly November 27, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    This has happened twice more since I wrote the column, both happy dancers putting finger to lips, nervous about revealing their affiliations. Then the young man whose parents went to see the President said the election has convinced him to stay in school. “Education is the way to go!” he told me, happy dancing behind the counter, arms flung out.

    Like

  9. 15 Sheri Campbell November 27, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Happy Dancing with you. You are gifted with the perfect words to say what we feel. Looking forward to meeting you at the Dallas Jewel book club mtg in June.

    Like

  10. 17 Devlyn November 27, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    Be very proud of your President Lee, we are proud of America for voting as you all did.

    Like


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