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Comments by YACCS
Sunday, October 31, 2004

Worship me

Worship your king, minions...

Down with the Kerry haters
Outside the Bush-Arnold rally in Ohio, Republicans railed at demonstrators with apocalyptic fury.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Michelle Goldberg

Oct. 30, 2004 | COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Lisa Dupler, a 33-year-old from Columbus, held up a rainbow-striped John Kerry sign outside the Nationwide Arena on Friday, as Republicans streamed out after being rallied by George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger. A thickset woman with very short, dark hair, Dupler was silent and barely flinched as people passing her hissed "faggot" into her ear. An old lady looked at her and said, "You people are sick!" A kid who looked to be about 10 or 11 affected a limp wrist and mincing voice and said, "Oh, I'm gay." Rather than restraining him, his squat mother guffawed and then turned to Dupler and sneered, "Why don't you go marry your girlfriend?" Encouraged, her son yelled, "We don't want faggots in the White House!"

The throngs of Republicans were pumped after seeing the president and the action hero. But there was an angry edge to their elation. They shrieked at the dozen or so protesters standing on the concrete plaza outside the auditorium. "Kerry's a terrorist!" yelled a stocky kid in baggy jeans and braces. "Communists for Kerry! Go back to Russia," someone else screamed. Many of them took up the chant "Kerry sucks"; old women and teenage boys shouting with equal ferocity.

With four days to go until the election, you can feel the temperature rising in Ohio.

Among Democrats, it's easy to indulge the fantasy that all the rage in this election is directed one way -- at Bush. Thousands of progressives are campaigning here, going door-to-door to get out the vote, training to watch the polls, holding concerts and rallies and anything else they can think of to beat Bush. Hundreds are from other parts of the country but most are locals. Jess Good, Ohio director of the massive get-out-the-vote group America Coming Together, says that 93 percent of the 12,000 volunteers expected to work on Election Day are from Ohio itself.

Clearly, something exciting and unprecedented is happening. After reviewing Democratic and progressive field operations in Ohio and Florida, L.A. Weekly columnist Harold Meyerson wrote, "I have found something I've never before seen in my 36 or so years as a progressive activist and later as a journalist: an effective, fully functioning American left."

Friday's Republican rally, though, was evidence that many on the right are as fervid and galvanized as their opponents. Pollster John Zogby has called this the "apocalypse election" because people on both sides believe the world will end if their candidate loses. He's right -- the Republicans I met at the Ohio rally spoke in language almost identical to that of the most addled Bush-hater, although often several steps further removed from reality.

Dave, a 54-year-old electronic technician, said that if Kerry wins, "I'm going to leave the country and go to a Third World nation and start a ranch." His wife, Jenny, laughed and accused him of hyperbole, but he insisted he's been studying Portuguese, the language of Brazil, "so we'll have an escape route." Sitting near him was Greg Swalley, a blond electrical contractor. "I think Kerry is the anti-Christ," he said, only half-joking. "He scares me."


"Jesus! Jesus!" screamed 26-year-old Joe Robles, pointing to his Bush-Cheney sign. "The man stands for God," he said of the president. "We want somebody who stands for Jesus. I always vote my Christian morals." Robles, a student at Ohio State University, told me that Kerry's daughter is a lesbian. I said I thought that was Dick Cheney's daughter, but he shook his head no with confidence.

Robles said that Kerry would make it illegal for preachers to say that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. In California, he informed me gravely, such preaching has been deemed a hate crime, and pastors who indulge in it are fined $25,000, which "goes to lesbians."

A few of the protesters, meanwhile, were red-faced from yelling at their antagonists about homophobia and budget deficits and a senseless war. Republicans were incensed. A blond woman dragged her young redheaded son toward the protesters, pointed to them, and said, "These are the Democrats," speaking as if she was revealing an awful reality that he was finally old enough to face. As she walked away with a group of other mothers and children, she was so angry she could barely speak. A friend consoled her by promising her that Bush would win. After all, she pointed out, "Look how many more Bush supporters there were on the street!"

That calmed the angry blond woman down a little. But she was still mad. "We," she said, stammering and gesturing contemptuously at the demonstrators, "we are the way it should be!"

Wow, if you hate John Kerry, you're gonna move to Brazil? Where the president is a left wing union activist and everyone is black? That's like saying you hate Asians and plan to move to Orange County.

What Goldberg doesn't say is that a Bush rally is filled with true believers. They're screened that way. More sane people aren't invited. So yeah, it ranges between a Klan rally and a Promise Keepers meeting.

I mean, you know you're not in the land of the rational when you pretend Cheney's daughter is not a lesbian. Have they seen her and her partner? The problem is that these people are isolated and live in self-selected communities. So they aren't looking out at the wider world. Even the GOP pros know they face a disaster on Tuesday. The scale of the disaster is what they don't know. My bet is that they're gonna lose a house of Congress due to some seriously lackluster campaigns.

So exactly why did the Oklahoma GOP run Tom Coburn instead of JC Watts for Senate? Why did Jim DeMint think that a national sales tax would play among poor people in South Carolina?

My bet is that Dave better start checking out ranch prices in Belo Horizonte.

posted by Steve @ 6:53:00 PM

6:53:00 PM

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