Friday, October 1, 2010

Gore and Meek Rally Rocked!

The traffic, the crowd, the hassles: it was all worth it!

I am so glad I went to the Kendrick Meek rally in Tampa yesterday. I think Kendrick is a good candidate and the only progressive choice in the Florida race for the US Senate, and it is critical that we turn out the vote to defeat both tea party Republican, Marco Rubio, and Charlie "windsock" Crist, who bows whichever way the political winds blow, but we all know he is a Republican at heart, even though he changed to Independent in a politically calculated move to win this race. Everything Crist does, in my observation of him over the years, is a politically calculated move. He is the quintessential politician. We don't need the quintessential politician! We need a leader, and I believe that is what Kendrick Meek has shown himself to be. For example, he has consistently opposed oil drilling off the coast of Florida, even when it wasn't a popular position (i.e., before the catastrophic recent BP oil spill). Crist, on the other hand, has done his usual Windsock Hop on that and other issues. Not only is Kendrick Meek the only US Senate candidate we can count on to protect our environment and tourist industry by opposing offshore drilling, he will also make it a priority to bring green jobs and initiatives to Florida, the Sunshine (i.e., potentially solar!) State. We must elect Kendrick to the US Senate to ensure we move both our economy and environment in a healthy new green direction.

As Al Gore (who I'll get to in a second and I can't believe I've gone this far in the blog without mentioning!) urged Democrats and Independents yesterday at the rally: don't split the US Senate vote between Meek and Crist, that will only hand the race to Rubio. He said "I've been through a few elections" and my heart just broke at that one. Boy, does the man know what he was talking about when he made that plea for us Democrats not to hand the election to a Republican by splitting the vote!

My fellow Florida Democrats out there reading this: as they also kept emphasizing at the rally, when Democrats vote, Democrats win. We have to vote and we have to vote solidly Democratic in this election. Unless we want the state budget cut so much that our schools, infrastructure, first responders, libraries, and all other services to actual human beings/citizens will suffer even more than they already are, while the rich will get richer due to tax breaks designed for them and corporations will have free reign to trash our environment, it is vitally important that we vote the entire Democratic ticket. The future of our state--and by "our state", I don't mean some vague, impersonal thing, I mean our children, our seniors, our lower and middle class, our teachers, our first responders, and last but not least, our environment--is at stake.

Now on to Al Gore!!!! Frankly, though I think Meek is a very good candidate and I voted for him in the primary, and I will vote for him in the general election, no WAY would I have braved Tampa during rush hour to go to some unfamiliar venue to rally for him or anyone...unless, you tell me that Al Gore will be there. Say the secret word and the duck drops down! Color me THERE! And I'm so glad I braved said Tampa traffic (it was as bad as I thought it would be and yet another argument for green rapid transit) to see him. I LOVE him! I just flat out love him. His speech was so great, and the fact that he took the time to be there for Kendrick, for the party, for Florida (it MUST bring back 2000 for him every time he comes here), says so much about him. When Gore and Meek were on stage together and Gore was showering Meek with glowing praise, Meek was just beaming and you could tell how much it genuinely meant to him to be receiving such praise from such a great leader.

The whole thing was wonderful--once I got through the harrowing traffic and parking situation (!) and standing in crazy, disorganized lines (you have to love my Democratic Party--if you want organized lines, go to a Republican rally) in the blazing Florida sun with, where I happened to be positioned in the line, a speaker blaring music into my ears the whole time at a hearing loss-inducing level, and finally making it into the hot union hall with only seats for a few physically-challenged folks, it was all SO WORTH IT. I work every day with a bunch of, as one friend of mine calls them "radcon fundies" and it was so refreshing to connect with a big crowd of Democrats! Packed in like lemmings as we were, and hot as it was in that room, I felt like I could breathe again, like I could relax and be ME. The crowd was very diverse, with African-Americans, Latino-Americans, seniors, young peeps (a lot of the organizers/volunteers there were VERY young, which was nice to see), union workers, environmentalists, etc. There was a lot of "etc." there. A good kind of etc.  The Democratic base kind of etc., of which I count myself a proud member.  There was a beautiful energy in the room.  I loved when one speaker said "If you want to move a car forward, you put it in D. If you want to go in reverse, you put it in R." Yeah/sing it!  That one never gets old. It was really good to be at a Democratic rally. Really good. It was very healing for me, personally, after feeling so alienated from my party in the 2008 primary season (due to the whole Rubio-induced delegate SITUATION--that's right, folks, it was Rubio's baby to move up Florida's 2008 Presidential primary election date in violation of both parties' rules, setting up the electoral chaos and horribly divisive primary season that followed--and this guy wants to be our US Senator? NOT JUST NO BUT HELL NO!), and frankly being so unhappy with the current administration. I really needed to remember that I love my party. Being at that rally reminded me. In a big way. It was like a giant bear hug...or a homecoming...or a family reunion. Make that all three.

I'm so glad to be a Democrat, even though I can't stand the current president, frankly. But as bad as I think he is, he's still FAR better than any Republican president we've had in my lifetime. My first memory of a Republican administration comes in the form of the televised Watergate Hearings.  I was just a kid.  Then I came of age just as the Reagan era came into being.  I think Reagan was a complete disaster for our country and is the nightmare gift that just keeps giving, because somehow people mistakenly think he was so great and the current tea party movement, for example, is, in my opinion, people trying to get back to Reagan Republicanism. Horrifying. Then we had Bush I and Bush II, the latter of which I can't even think about without recoiling in rage and disgust. Nope, like I said, I'm glad and proud to be a lifelong Democrat.

To recap, that rally really hit the Democratic spot.  Gore was, is and always will be great, and, any Florida Democratic and Independent voters out there reading this: please vote for Kendrick Meek (and the entire Democratic ticket, while you are at it) on November 2nd. Our state cannot take any more Republican "leadership". With "leadership" like that, who needs ruination? Please vote Democratic to vote for the health of our economy, children, seniors, middle class, and environment.

Kendrick Meek and Al Gore, at 9/30/2010 Rally for Meek

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