Democratic Underground

Thoughts on the Selection
August 25, 2001
by Juanita

I was born in the middle 30s in the deep South. The worst of the Depression was over, but it was still pretty bad. Those were the days when if you had a job it was 12 hours a day - six days a week; seven often. If you were lucky you made a dollar a day. Most of the time there was no work in the summer time. I was a baby when my parents came to Florida to work in the citrus industry. They had lost their farm. At least back then you could fish for free, pick oranges, grow a little garden if you could afford seed.

Many times all we had to eat was grapefruit from the groves. Somehow the fish just wouldn't bite, I suppose saying "They can eat grapefruit! Give us a break!" Sometime the fish did bite and oftentimes they were cooked in water. The water had to be coaxed out of the ground by a hand pump. There were no lights, no indoor bathroom, no washing machines, you name it - no nothing. Many houses had dirt floors and very leaky roofs. Transportation was by foot.

My father had one pair of shoes - wired together. Once when he had worked all day in the sun they fell apart as he was walking home. He had no underwear. My mother sewed panties by hand for me made out of flour sacks. We did have a milk cow that was unfortunately bitten by a rattle snake.

My people had a strong work ethic. They loved to work. FDR was their hero. They were excited when he was able to get Social Security passed. In those days my grandmothers who were widows of farmers had no income, no choice of where to live. They lived wherever they could.

These are just a few of my memories.

Growing up my father was an influence on my interest in politics. He was a staunch Democrat who called Eisenhower Eisenhoover. The Presidential elections are my emotional connection to him. This last pre-election I had watched the "news". I was constantly told that nobody liked Al Gore - he just wasn't likeable. I liked him; I knew others that liked him. But day after day reporters who had a reputation as liberals, such as Cokie Roberts and her husband, told me that Al Gore just wasn't likeable.

These same "liberal" reporters also told me that Bush was so charming, so likeable, so warm. Sorry, I just didn't see it. Today, I certainly don't see it.

I watched however. I had watched Fox for several months till I just couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't handle the overbearing Hannity, the slick Ollie North, the Judith Regan wondering what to tell her daughter about Clinton, and O'Reilly - oh well. Then there is Chris Mathews - oh well again. It's like listening to Rush on the radio - enough is enough.

I watched the election mostly on CNN. What a farce, but less so than the other networks. When they called the election for Bush, I was talking with my friend and we as Christians said we would have to pray for him since that is in the Bible. However, when the call for Florida became unsure and all the shenanigans that Bush and his consorts pulled, I stand with Dick Gregory who said, "My Mama said don't pray for a thief till he gets caught." I take that to mean apprehended and charged.

I watched everything I could including the farcical trial before the last Florida Supreme Court hearing. You know, Judge Sauls, that had the ballots sent to Tallahassee. I was so happy when the State Supreme Court said to count the ballots. They were being counted, and it wouldn't have taken much longer. Then the kick in the stomach. The United States Supreme Court said to stop counting.

It still hurts. I, and others I know, could have accepted a count even if it had gone for Bush. But this was The Selection, and still many don't care if many voters were misled, outcast, locked out of voting, much less the ones that weren't counted.

I am grateful to the NAACP for their hearing about voters problems here in voting - not just Blacks. It was a well-ordered hearing with attorneys, teachers, ministers, etc. who had problems. One voter went to a voting place that had been torn down. Others had no places to park.

I am grateful to the Black Caucus in Congress for their elegant protestations to declaring Bush the winner. I am grateful to them for their continuing support of the common people. I am grateful to the Equal Employment Commission for their investigation of voters rights violations. Now, I am grateful to Alan Dershowitz and to Vincent Bugliosa for expressing and explaining their views on the Selection in book form.

Florida Democrats aren't necessarilly liberal. Remember Bob Crawford our Democratic Secretary of Agriculture was a supporter of Bush. He appeared on many shows, including Larry King, to inform the public that it was settled. It was over - Bush was President. Soon Bob Crawford resigned from public office and went to work in Lakeland.

Many Democrats down here have changed to the Republican party, and many are on the verge of changing. When John F. Kennedy was running for President none of our Southern Democrats would support him, nor would they want to be caught in the same room with him, just because he was Roman Catholic. Many relatives and friends of mine voted for Nixon rather than voting that Roman Catholic in. When Kennedy came out for civil rights, that reinforced their belief that they should not support him.

When Kennedy was assassinated, a high-school teacher in tears announced the death to his students. To his horror they stood up and applauded. This was told by the teacher to my father.

Before the election I had feelings that Cheney was probably an evil person, and remember Christians are supposed to be known by the fruit they bear. Bush can say he is a Christian, but is he? And Florida's Governor, well that's another story. He does what he wants and gets bills passed that are subtly changing our way of life down here. As he says, "Get their asses out of here".

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