|Ponce de Leon 'discovering' Florida|
"I don't care. You know me, I say what the hell's on my mind."
"Yes, but there are rules. You can't just shout out what you want to say. This isn't some church on the South side of Chicago."
"Well somebody has to speak up."
"Fine, you can speak up, but just don't embarrass me."
So went the little conversation Mark and I had before going to the city council meeting last night. We were there as a show of strength from our neighborhood against over-developing a large tract of land down the street from our house.
First order of business at the council meeting, the 'invocation' or as it is more correctly called, the prayer. Normally when I find myself stuck someplace where other's religions are being foisted upon me, I just sit there and ignore it. When everybody else stands to pray I sit. Unfortunately, because we had arrived late, all that was left was standing room. So when the crowd of sheep stood to pray, I had no choice. While the reverend droned on, and on about the "One creator" and how we had so much to thank this guy in the sky, Mark and I had to stand there. Finally he wrapped it up and everybody said 'Amen' and sat back down. Everybody except Mark. He shouted out, "Praise Allah!" People's heads snapped around fast to see who the damn terrorist was. One of our neighbors who was sitting close to us, seemed shocked and told Mark that she didn't know he was a Muslim. He isn't, he's a provocateur.
Next up, the Mayor reading a proclamation about how Florida was "discovered" five hundred years ago and how absolutely wonderful a man Ponce de Leon was. I thought Mark was going to explode. He danced around and made faces, and when he started to shout out something, I had to give him a little nudge.
"Remember, don't embarrass me."
Town council meetings are normally a snooze. Boring, with a lot of legalese and people flapping their lips saying nothing. Not this meeting. Not when an old guy named John DeGroot stood up to have his say. He was given three minutes and he made the most of it. First he explained to the city council how inappropriate a prayer is at a government meeting. Then he gave them a history lesson about Ponce de Leon, and how five hundred years ago it was all about murdering the native population and then importing other human beings to enslave and use as beasts of burden. Finally he looked each council member in the eye and told them that he realized their minds were made up on the development at the end of our block. He correctly pointed out that it was all based on greed. Greed was what had built Florida and still has a total grip on our government. Five hundred years ago when Ponce de Leon landed in Florida it was all about greed.
Anyway, it was a very entertaining city council meeting. And best of all, Mark didn't embarrass me. I don't think I embarrassed him either. That is the core of our relationship, not embarrassing each other.