Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Blue Islands in a Red Sea of Rich Retirees and Rednecks

The electoral map of Florida graphically illustrates the truth this morning. While the governor’s race has narrowed to 50,000 votes, it still appears that billionaire Rick Scott has bought himself a governorship. The map shows the handful of blue urban islands surrounded by a sea of red suburban and rural counties, the realm of the rich retirees in their gated communities and their bible thumping redneck cohorts. The breakdown by demographics details this reality: Scott voters were wealthy, white, Hispanic males and poorly to moderately educated people. Sink’s voters were poorer, female, Hispanic females and blacks, and those with four year degrees or more.

It never ceases to amaze me how easily working class men allow their masculinity to be pimped. They vote against their own interests with regularity. And they listen to steady diets of conservative pundits and fundagelical preachers who maintain the closed circle of the conservative drumbeat. It’s not hard to believe Obama is the antichrist when you never venture outside the circled wagons.

There are days I regret returning to this home state of five generations. Florida has generally voted in ways that I could rarely understand much less embrace. But the unholy alliance of wealthy retirees and the blue collar folk who maintain their plumbing is a deadly combination that appears to be largely the norm in Florida politics. I watch with some level of consolation as California turns back the same kind of billionaires attempting to buy their state’s elections and rejects amendments sponsored by Texas oil companies to gut their environmental laws. Why is it California can get their feces coalesced and Florida seems stuck on the toilet?

This morning as I walked around Lake Underhill, the elections seemed far away. The mist and fog left over from yesterday’s rains – the first in over a month – still swirled around the edges of the lake providing intermittent cover for the wading birds. The sun rising through that mist illuminated the lake and cast the bridge across the lake with its rush hour traffic a golden hue. It is a very peaceful place which I have come to love each morning, grounding myself in the real before entering the realm of the surreal.

As I walked this morning, suddenly I heard the words of Julian of Norwich in my ears: “And all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well…” I suppose Dame Julian is probably right. As my father is so fond of saying, “This, too, shall pass.”


The Rev. Harry Scott Coverston, J.D., Ph.D.

Member, Florida Bar (inactive status)

Priest, Episcopal Church (Dio. of El Camino Real, CA)

Instructor: Humanities, Religion, Philosophy of Law

University of Central Florida, Orlando

If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding.

Most things of value do not lend themselves to production in sound bytes. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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