Monday, August 14, 2006

Among the Democrats

Another weekend over, & that much closer to the beginning of the semester. A headachy day – spent too much time in the sun earlier, at of all things a Palm Beach County Democratic Party picnic. Not, mind you, a fundraiser – just a Party get-together with open invitations encouraging everyone to bring school supplies to donate to local public schools (Jeb Bush being, after all, the “education governor” every bit as much as his brother is a “uniter, not a divider”).

Why’d we go to this thing? Well, Party candidates were gonna be there, & the organizers held out the possibility that the gubernatorial contenders would show. I for one was interested to see what kind of pickings beleaguered Florida Democrats could put up against the loonie who’s the other folks’ front runner right now. But no gubernatorial candidates appeared while we were there, so I was left to conduct a sociological enquiry into the state of Blue politics in South Florida.

One word: old. The average age of the folks there – free food & all – must have been somewhere past retirement age, even with a decent turnout of young people and their children. Seniors mostly white; young people mostly black and Hispanic. Which made it more of a shame that the guy manning the DJ booth was playing what amounted to a golden oldies set. The closest he got to anything with political valence was “Born in the USA” & Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” (which as you’ll recall got a good deal of airplay during the 1992 Clinton run). The closest he got to music of color was Ray Charles singing “America.” When I suggested to him that the potential voters for a 2020 election might be a little more fired up if he were to play something on the hip-hop, Latino, or even post-James Taylor side of things, he just rolled his eyes and waved a hand at the ranks of grey panthers piled onto the picnic tables under the pavilion: “They’ve already asked me to turn down the volume like 16 times.”

The good folks at the Dems organization had set up two big bounce houses for the kids, & Pippa spent the better part of two hours jumping up & down in the heat, which was oppressive. When she finally came out, we had one of those wonderful “let me tell you how to raise your child” moments: “Did you put sunscreen on that child?” asked one woman; “She looks awfully red & flushed.” As I suppose you would, if you'd been jumping up & down for the better part of 2 hours.
Still a bit dazzled from a first reading of Lisa Robertson's fantastic Debbie: An Epic.

1 comment:

Archambeau said...

Uh,'re surprised that an event with free food in Florida skews old? You've gotta set the Ruskin down and get out a little more often. (On second thought, don't ever change. No one blogs Ruskin like you blog Ruskin, bro).