Today’s WTF: A stormy day and a cloudy road ahead

Image via NPR.org

It’s been a weird, unsettling sort of day here in South Florida.

 
Yesterday, Mitt Romney capped off a weekend’s worth of visits to our fair state, and President Obama will be returning here as well in the next few days. Florida is, without a doubt, one of the most crucial of the battleground states in this election. Along with Ohio, its importance is difficult to overstate.

We who support the president in Florida have been working hard – much harder, it seems, than in 2008. Selling Barack Obama as an alternative to John McCain, Sarah Palin and the party of George W. Bush was not too hard to do. Though there were certainly pockets of resistance, chiefly among the more conservative good-old-boy types, it was surprising how many people were so disgusted by Bush that they were ready to run -not walk – to the ballot box and pull the lever for anyone who opposed his policies.

This year, when you talk to folks, you do sense a palpable difference in the way they receive our pro-Obama efforts. It’s not about him, or even about Romney, for a lot of these people. For lack of a better word, many voters here are just afraid. They feel like they have believed in things that didn’t come through for them the way they’d hoped, and they aren’t sure if they have it in them to believe again this time around. They feel like they’re less clear about what their choice should be. No matter who we choose, some of them have said to me, it just won’t matter. They cite the current deadlocked state of our hyper-partisan congress, and the Citizens United decision, and the many other changes that have brought our legislative progress and our democratic process to a standstill in recent years. They just don’t see how the mood or the tone in Washington can shift enough to get anything useful done, and they think that will be the case no matter who ends up in the White House.

Of course, I am doing my best to explain that this election DOES matter, and that it matters an awful damn lot. I hope my fellow volunteers and I have managed to get through to enough people, but it’s much tougher to know how we’re doing this time around, and that makes me really nervous as we reach the endgame of this race. Last time, the excitement for Obama was clear to see around here, and it shone as bright as the Florida sun. This time, there are far more clouds on the horizon. It’s tough not to notice them. I’m a glass half full kind of person – always have been – but I also see things as they are. I’m no Pollyanna. I know this is a tough race, and I know it’s insanely close here, and I just do not know which way Florida will go on November 6th. That’s eating me up in a way that I can’t even describe.

Tomorrow is the deadline for voter registration here in Florida, and today was the last day I would be out with my clipboard, trying to scramble up a few stragglers before the time ran out. I did OK, got a few folks on the rolls and assisted a few more with absentee ballot and early voting info, but it was a bit stormy and there weren’t too many shoppers coming by my spot today.

After my shift ended, I carefully put my clipboard and all my paperwork into a jumbo Ziploc bag, to keep them dry. I walked back to my car in the rain, getting wet myself but not really caring – I just wanted to get back to the OFA office with my stuff, and turn it in, and go home knowing that I did what I could today. I just hope, with every fiber of my being, that what I’ve done – that what we’re ALL doing – will be enough.

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13 thoughts on “Today’s WTF: A stormy day and a cloudy road ahead

  1. I’m so grateful that you and others like you are out there fighting the good fight. Hang in there. I know it’s very difficult to stay optimistic. We still have some more debates on tap and much can happen in a month. I’m sorry that more Floridians don’t realize that voting for Romney is a vote against themselves. My brother should be in Florida in a few weeks to help out the Obama campaign. Wish I could be there, too.

    • Thanks for the comment, it makes me feel better and I appreciate it! 🙂 Good for your brother, we will take all the help we can get. And you’re right, a month is a loong time in a presidential race, so I’m hoping we get some new momentum on our side from the upcoming debates.

    • Oh, I know our work’s not in vain – I never think the time I spend on stuff like this is wasted, no matter what. It’s so important to participate and I’m happy to do so. But a win on Nov. 6th WOULD be preferable to a loss, no question about it. 😉 Yeah, Thursday will be good, I think. I’ll be making popcorn and settling in for that one!

  2. Reblogged this on The Last Of The Millenniums and commented:
    You wrote : “They just don’t see how the mood or the tone in Washington can shift enough to get anything useful done, and they think that will be the case no matter who ends up in the White House”.
    There are actually two elections this November. The one for the next two years and then the one for the 2 years AFTER.
    THE Republicans WILL keep the House and still filibuster in the Senate. And in two years America will raise up and say ‘ENOUGH’!
    Who do we want in charge when Congress finally understands that they need to work together, compromise FOR THE NATION and not their political party?
    See and vote for an America that DOES work together………just like we use to.

    • Yup, there is a “big picture” that is even bigger than November’s White House vote. We need to try and bring back that “America that DOES work together”, because this “not working at all” bullshit is not cutting it for anyone.

  3. I think what you’re doing is great. Florida key. And appreciate you sharing the mood and political temperature there as it really is. I skip political blogs that partisan sugarcoat the lay of the land.

    • Many thanks, Doug. I don’t see the point in playing pretend with the facts – this election’s too important to me personally and it serves no purpose to try and BS myself or anyone else about exactly what the deal is. it’s a real nail-biter around here right now and while I’m not rolling over yet, I’m not putting the champagne on ice just yet, either.

  4. Thanks for your hard work volunteering and for the excellent insight into the mood in Florida. I’m sure it takes even more strength, confidence, and patience this time around to present the argument to a frustrated, divided public.

    • Thanks very much for the comment – and the folks I’ve spoken to here really are frustrated, in a big way. It’s understandable, but I’m hoping they’ll realize that if we go back to Bush-style policies under Romney, we will end up in even worse shape than we’re in now.

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