Key West

I spent the majority of the last week on the first of two scheduled vacations this month, essentially my last hurrah before I seriously have to get into that whole "gainful employment" thing that is kind of expected of an adult in modern society. In case the title didn't tip you off, this particular vacation was in Key West, Florida, the southernmost enclave of the mainland United States. Although "mainland" is probably pushing it with Key West; it is an island after all!

We flew to and from Key West, with AirTran. That went better than expected, really, although given prior experiences it would have been difficult for anything to have failed to meet my pathetically low expectations. Security, in particular, was perfectly manageable, although I guess we've reached the point where sending people through those full-body scanners is standard operating procedure? I don't know how I feel about that. On the outbound flight, though, the amount of people waiting in line caused them to divert some people through the metal detectors (including me), and Key West "International" Airport doesn't have the scanners yet.

Oh yes, the Key West airport. That was the single scariest landing I have ever been through; I think the 737 we were flying in is the largest thing they could possibly land on that airport's one runway, and we pretty much bounced our way down the runway when the pilot brought us in. About the only way that landing could have been more uncomfortable is if the plane had actually crashed, I think. Well, thankfully that didn't happen.

Key West itself had an almost small-town atmosphere to it; I guess when your available living space fits into an eight-square-mile island, that's somewhat to be expected. Of course, there were a large number of tourist accommodations; also unsurprising given that the island's main industry these days is tourism. We were staying in a condo that was one of the nicest places I've ever been able to stay in, although all of the DVD players were disconnected for reasons I couldn't quite fathom. Duval Street, the main tourist area, was within five minutes' walk, so there was no lack of access to shopping, bars, or food. And there was a nice swimming pool, and then of course there were the two much larger swimming pools that we call the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean within walking distance of the place.

Needless to say, I got sunburned. Quite severely. After being diligent about putting on sunscreen, no less. I was more than a little ticked off about that, in fact. But, I got to go snorkeling in the ocean for once, which was a nice change considering the only other place I've ever gotten to use the thing was in North Pond up in Maine of all places. On balance, though, I did about as little as possible; swimming pretty much every day, all sorts of good food (including a wonderful Japanese restaurant with sake), and lying around enjoying all of the free time I had.

It had its downsides; particularly, my efforts in participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this fine month of June are effectively shot to hell by now. But I can still try, I guess... if not for scheduled vacation #2. Key West was planned and executed by my grandparents as a kind of family reunion-style vacation before I and my brother had to move on into adult life, you see - fun, certainly, but not what I would have set up if I had chosen it.

Scheduled vacation #2? Is mine. (Well, mostly, anyway... more explanations will probably be forthcoming...) Watch this space - it might take until Sunday, but trust me when I say I won't fail to blog about this.


Consequences of Public Speech

Sorry for the long silence, everyone; I've been dealing with the end of college life and the series of associated ceremonies. Anyway!

I was thinking just now about airport security. Probably because my vacation schedule for this first month of summer will require me to fly no less than four times in the next three weeks. I don't regret that; this is probably the last time I'll get to relax before I seriously have to dive into searching for work. (Although I might get to work on that job search during vacation periods. We'll see.) I can't imagine I'll enjoy having to deal with airport security along the way, although perhaps the fourth time will be better away from American airport security.

That somewhat sideways expression of disapproval, however, is all I'll say on the matter at this point in time. Particularly, I have no desire to potentially draw additional attention on myself prior to traveling, considering I still have no idea how the TSA decides to send this person through the scanner instead of this other person. Which isn't to say I'll never write that post; we'll see how the next few trips through the airport go before making that judgment.

The point I'm trying to make with my little digression into airport security is that I have a distinct appreciation for how the things I write here could affect the rest of my life. No, I don't post under my real name, but I still believe it would be a trivial matter for someone truly determined to connect this blog to my real persona. I've taken no real steps to preserve my anonymity, which means that anything particularly unwise that I write could have real consequences for me.

This is also why I'm continually surprised at what people will sign their real names to online. Observe:
Liberals no longer accept the will of the people and move on to the next election. This bodes very badly for the future of democracy in America.

The simple truth is Democrats no longer believe in the validity of elections. Elections for them are simply a tool to gain power. They are not the voice by which the people speak.

To say this is dangerous is a major understatement.

It is this type of attitude that breeds tyrannies. We must not only defeat but also totally destroy this attitude if our Republic is to survive.
Oh hey Judson Phillips, I see we're dealing with more Tea Party nonsense. Again.

First off, if you honestly believe that I no longer accept the will of the people, go back and read some of the political things I've written here. If you can get through those posts without changing your mind, I suggest you not read the rest of this, because this is going to be predicated on the manifestly obvious fact that I and most other liberals do still believe in the general validity of elections. In short, that is not a point up for debate, and I will not entertain debate on that here.

I will concede one thing to Mr. Phillips. I can agree with him that if I believed someone's ideas would be permanently or irreversibly damaging to the United States, I would not entertain the thought of compromise with that ideology. To the extent that he honestly believes that left-wing ideology would be irreversibly harmful to the United States, I can understand why he might say something like this.

Needless to say, I believe he is wrong. Quite severely wrong. Wrong in a way that drives me to say that this kind of shit is exactly why I hate and fear the Tea Party as much as I do. I can say with a fair degree of confidence that I will never be anything other than a liberal, a left-wing ideologue, a progressive... use whatever label for it you desire, though I prefer the last. (And all that that implies, including feminism!)

To have him irreversibly connect that ideology to an "attitude that breeds tyrannies" and call for its destruction... well... "to say this is dangerous is a major understatement," if he doesn't mind me borrowing his phrase.

The reason? To me, it strikes me as a call for open violence. When I read that, I see someone saying that liberals are not merely to be argued with, disagreed with... they are to be destroyed. And this is something that he says under his real name, on an open public forum, with indeed people even celebrating and agreeing with him. (Don't read the comments on the Tea Party Nation page. Seriously. It's not worth it.)

I'm left honestly wondering. Do the things people say carry any consequence anymore?

(H/T to Right Wing Watch.)