By Lenny Guckenheimer, Charlotte County Dems contributing writer
On Thursday afternoon, about 20 Democrats and EDC members gathered outside at Paraiso Mexican Grille and Bar in Englewood to reflect on the siege (and thankfully) failed coup on Jan. 6, 2021.
Fran Dance, Charlotte County Dems communication committee chair, addressed the group by recalling other tragic days in America’s history. “December 7th, September 11th, and now January 6th”, he said. “Our democracy is fragile, and we have to work to keep it. Florida is a hotbed of anti-democratic forces. “We have to fight for democracy or lose it”. He urged us to work in Englewood and “get engaged with no-party affiliated (NPA) voters and the Republicans who have not drunk the Kool Aid. We are on the cusp of losing our democracy and we need to get more involved in 2022,” Fran said.
Speaking to the group, Linda DeMerrit, Charlotte County Dems precinct coordinating committee chair, echoed Fran’s remarks. “Republicans got more registered voters last election because they went out during COVID. We need to go out, wear masks, and register voters.”
Chris Kenealy, EDC president, relayed comments made by Manny Diaz, Florida Democratic Party Chair. He called January 6th the first anniversary of a dark day and that we should pray. Ceil also remarked that passing the Voter’s Rights Act is needed and to contact our senators to urge the vote for the Voter’s Rights Act. “Call them up,” she said.
In separate conversations, Barbara said, “It’s not OK for this big lie that the election was stolen to continue one year later.” Gerry Pielack had mixed feelings. “A couple of things, I think. Democracy survived the insurrection. That gives me confidence and a positive feeling.” But he also said the country is divided. “The Republican Party is in denial. Some law makers said they (the rioters) were peaceful when they stormed the Capitol. There is no evidence that the elections were inappropriate,” Gerry said.
Several people arriving to dine at Paraiso approached the group to offer encouragement and hope. Said one diner, hearing and seeing fellow Democrats was “like a breath of fresh air.”
Image Credits: Some of the Englewood Democratic Club members participating in the insurrection anniversary are standing from the left: Muriel, Karn, Joan, Frank, and Dave / photo by Lenny Guckenheimer