Still screaming in blue-zone South Florida

ScreamConsider this a short update from down here in South Florida, where people continue to struggle with the results of the 2004 election. On one level, this is a Jay Leno talking point. On another level, this story is actually rather interesting.

You may have seen the initial report about the Boca Raton group therapy sessions that are being held for supporters of Sen. John Kerry who are having trouble moving on. Actually, you get the impression that they are haters of President Bush more than they are Kerry supporters.

I think we have another chance, in this little story, to see into the heart of the anti-fundamentalist voter phenomenon.

Anyway, the Boca News update by reporter Sean Salai covers predictable ground and then hits what certainly seems to be the heart of the matter for these liberals who are suffering from Post Election Selection Trauma — religion.

For starters, the story notes that the “predominantly Jewish support group members, almost all of them Palm Beach County Democrats” over the age of 50, kept shouting down the therapy leader, who tried to guide them away from discussions of conspiracy theories about how the election was rigged.

There was lots of anger at the news media, which is now under the control of right-wing corporations. The Iraqi war was, of course, another hot topic. Bit it was not the hottest topic.

On the issue of religion, the elderly PEST sufferers were especially animated.

“The Republicans have gotten away with phony spirituality,” said Alfred.

“The Jeffersonian ideal of separation between church and state is going to hell.”

“There’s more of them than us,” said a woman named Joyce, referring to “red state” voters. “That’s scary.”

I don’t think this is an Onion story, but it might be.

The story stressed that the Boca Raton-based American Health Association is treating a total of 60 Palm Beach County liberals in three different weekly support groups. However, only one of the groups has allowed reporters to sit in on its sessions — with the understanding that no full names are used and no clues are provided about the location. No photos are allowed, either.

Has anyone seen any reports of similar groups elsewhere in the nation, or is this just a South Florida thing?

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.


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