Thursday, January 10, 2008

We went to the Fort Meyers beach on Tuesday, a long meandering drive along a causeway past seemingly endless malls, their patios and columns, porticos and towers reminding me of long ago days, when the French and Spanish bickered over this land. Today mansions private and commercial continue this elaborate style, and endless malls feature fountains, landscaped canals, and covered patios in a balmy morning, with plantings of palmettos everywhere.

At the beach, even in January, people lay everywhere under colorful umbrellas to escape the sun, their browned exposed skin gleaming with sun tan oil. Fishermen spent the day out on the pier, competing with brown pelicans for the day’s catch. The brown pelicans floated on the water close to the pier, heedless of the fishing lines. Seemingly at random, they took to the air, and then turned and suddenly dove into the green waters, surfacing occasionally with a fish.

After 20 minutes, we could feel the sun heating the skin on the backs of our necks and legs so returned to the cove for chocolate almond cashew ice cream. On the way home, I found another mermaid, a life-sized mailbox mermaid, brown-haired facing east, and blonde-haired facing west.

Mile after mile, we drove the 22 miles back along the causeway to our quiet condo, ready for an evening of election returns. The presidential road show comes to Florida soon as the primary here is set for January 29. Clinton and Edwards. Obama and Richardson. Clinton and Obama. Even Edwards and Richardson. Or some combination. I’m not sure even a Democrat can surmount the economic, political and social problems facing us today.

Does anyone else listen to the television nonstop, through all the campaign speeches, the congratulations, the evaluations, the polls, the replays of certain sound bites and not others? I was dismayed at the reacton of broadcasters, mostly male, to Clinton's "tearing up". Many people in public office, as John Stewart points out, have teared up, including Nixon. Many times people who are moved by strong emotion tear up. It has nothing to do with the brain, which in Clinton's case functions admirably. Why wasn't her articulate grasp of economic issues from last week's debate highlighted? I sway between Clinton and Obama, because in my mind, any Democrat would be better than our current administration. I admire Obama's idealism and commitment, his ability to bring more people into the political process. I admire Clinton's professionalism and depth of experience she brings to administration AND she has a heart.


Anonymous said...

I have just come to your blog for the first time and am trying to back read. But I did want to say that we somewhat guiltily join you in this non-stop watching of political TV. Sincerely addicted. For the past few days I have weaned myself over to NPR in the mmorning, and feel more peaceful. This is such an important and historical election that I want a front seat to watch the process and make my own judgements. Fabulous journey you are taking. Judith

Beth said...

Thanks for your note, Judith. I am amazed at the wide differences between what is reported on the popular media, the alternate media (The Dailey Show), and the original event -- that is, when we can see for ourselves what the candidates say. I too feel calmer when I watch BBC or NPR and appreciate the contexts they provide. I've come to see mainstream media as a rant, unfortunately. All the candidates need a thick skin and perseverance to get their message out. I agree with former President Clinton who said, "Shame on you!" to the media. Hi from Beth