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A HERETIC I AM

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Name: Schmengie
Gender: Male
Hometown: Podunk, FL
Home country: USA
Current location: Various.
Member since: Mon Aug 4, 2003, 02:56 PM
Number of posts: 20,018

Journal Archives

The Town of Democratic Underground. We've had over 215,000 citizens. What a great place to live.

7 years ago last April I posted the original of this.....essay? That can be read here I made a few minor changes and added a much needed acknowledgement. I have often thought of DU as a little town. Surely it doesn't have 215,000 residents, more like 10 or 15,000 regulars with the rest having either left or just come into town on occasion. But still...this is how I saw it 7 years ago.

Perhaps this can serve many of the newer members to understand how many of us old timers thought of DU before the '08 election. I've been a member of DU since August of 2003. Not as long as some, longer than many. I hope you will find what I wrote enjoyable and interesting.




Hi.

Welcome to our town. Care to take a little walk with me?

I've lived here for just shy of 11 years now and I like it just fine. It's very diverse, vibrant, active and fairly peaceful. Oh, we have our differences but for the most part, everyone gets along pretty well.

We have several Churches; A Catholic Church, a small Episcopal Church, A Baptist Church, a rather large non-denominational Church as well as a Synagogue and a Mosque. Oh, and a fairly good sized Unitarian Universalist congregation too as well as a vocal and passionate non-religious group. There are clubs and civic organizations to meet all tastes and a very active GLBT community. Here on main street is where many of our inhabitants work, whether it is in the small businesses they own or for some of the national chains that have decided to adhere to our strict zoning laws and scaled down from the large, big-box stores they set up elsewhere. We have a Mall on the edge of town where others work. Very few folks from outside town come here to work but quite a few commute to the city. We have a thriving Industrial park on the other side of town where many more of our inhabitants are employed. Seems to me our unemployment rate is about the same as the national average.

We have a few folks on the outskirts that have rather large properties, a cattle ranch and a few hobby farms, some orchards and several large vegetable producers. The folks that live here come from all walks of life and do almost anything you can think of. We have several Banks, Restaurants, a couple Brokerage Firms, Real Estate offices and Insurance companies. At the end of the block is a gun shop that has a shooting range inside and there is an active group of hunters. There is a Golf Course, a Bowling Alley, Hair Salon and a Barber Shop. Oh....and the Bars. We have several of them. There is quite a lively night life here. In fact, one street is referred to as "The Lounge" because it is lined with Cocktail Lounges and Bars of all types. If you stray over there, make sure you take a serious sense of humor with you. You'll find most are very accommodating and you rarely have to buy your first drink if you are new in town.

The age range is from teenagers to the elderly. I know there are small children here because I can hear them but I never see them. There are a few celebrities, a number of published authors, several filmmakers and quite a few cranky old farts thrown in for good measure! It is rumored that several of our quietest residents are famous in politics and the arts, but they don't say much, they seem to just watch the town through the windows of their homes. All of these tend to add style and color that we quite frankly would miss if they were for some reason to leave our fair city. We have Truck Drivers, Pilots, Sanitation Workers, Waiters and Waitresses, Carpenters, Bricklayers, Craftsmen, Clerks, CPA's, Attorneys, Stockbrokers, a Veterinarian or two, Doctors and Nurses, Cooks and Chefs, Seamstresses, and maybe a Tailor. I haven't met him yet but there is his shop, right over there.

Often the national media, be it a Newspaper or a TV Network reports on what goes on here. We think thats fine. It's good to know we get noticed.

One thing you'll find out right away is that there are conversations that spring up on almost every street corner and in every business about any number of subjects at all times of the day and night. Our residents LOVE to talk. Sometimes, the conversations are just between 3 or 4 people about something as silly as what shampoo to use on a cat. Other times, huge crowds will gather with dozens shouting their opinions. There can be two or three very loud, raucous conversations about the same subject going on at once. It can get rather lively. Usually when it gets to be really big, it draws several of the cops to circle around and stroll through the crowd, looking to stop anyone who might be ready to throw a punch. Once in a while there is a push or a shove and on occasion a punch is thrown. Rarely is the injury any more severe than a bloody nose or damaged pride. More often than not, when tempers flare, the antagonist or protagonist will just walk away. In the most severe cases the some participants of a conversation will call upon the residents of the town to participate in a jury. That jury will decide whether or not to break up the conversation completely and make everyone leave. They do, but sometimes it is just down the street a little where another conversation will start again. It is usually the case that the jury will take a specific participant out of the crowd entirely, and that person is not allowed to speak in that conversation any longer. It serves to keep things a little more civil, though the system has it's flaws. Often these conversations last for days and days. There's several big ones going on right now. You can tell the ones that get heated as they tend to drift up to the top of the street, near the Courthouse, while everyone is sweating and there are several cops in the crowd.

We have a small Police Force, maybe less than 100 Deputies, a Mayor, a Sheriff and a Marshall. The Deputies volunteer to be assigned to a specific street and they rotate out every few months so there are no career cops. They carry no guns but they have a weapon no other Police Force in the country has; the magical ability to make someone shut up! It seems to work pretty well. It is rumored that the Mayor, the Sheriff and the Marshall are the town fathers, but I think they just hung a phone on a post in the woods, stuck a flag in the ground, named the town and within days, this town started to grow, but that's just my opinion. I wasn't here then, but I passed through this area before it existed and it was just wilderness. The Mayor is a decent sort, very opinionated but firm in his convictions. The Sheriff writes an occasional column in the paper that is widely read and the Marshall...well....he stays out of sight. I think he sits in his study, playing with electrical devices all day, trying to create a time machine maybe. Who knows? Sometimes an outsider will come into town and start conversations or enter into them and cause nothing but trouble. Then, all of the sudden, he or she disappears. There is a special team charged with catching those trouble makers before they get a foothold in town. They seem to do a pretty good job. I know. I was on the team for a while. (Tip - Watch what you say)

Our history has had it's share of serious problems. Soon after the towns founding, hundreds and hundreds of people came rushing in to the area, trying to tell the Mayor that he had no business setting up a town here, that he was a maniac, that the water was poisoned (or that it WOULD be if he didn't leave) that the grass would die, that no one would come to live here, etc. As you look around, I think you can tell those predictions were all wrong.

Is it a perfect place to live? Surely not. But what place is perfect? We have clean air (we see to it) clean water (that too) good schools and good food. We have births and we miss those that pass away. New folks come to town all the time. Some stay for years, others leave soon after they arrive. Some, for some strange reason, insist on telling everyone they are leaving. This often gathers a crowd of either well-wishers or smart Alec's or both. I could never understand that, but there you go. But all in all, it is a wonderful place to live. Just walk down the street and listen in to the conversations. There is so much to learn and so many incredibly intelligent people that live here. I learn something just about every minute of every day!

Just remember, when you come across one of those large conversations that seems to have drawn a large crowd, try and listen in for a bit. You don't want to say the wrong thing and get the cops pissed at you. Trust me, I know. I was escorted almost to the edge of town at least once!

Well, I hope you enjoyed my 5 cent tour. I'm heading home. Have a good time and I'll see ya around!
Posted by A HERETIC I AM | Sat Jun 28, 2014, 04:22 PM (33 replies)
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