Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day Blog

IN WHICH your story-teller votes, defying the Climate of Fear

The sun is shining here today and the spacious skies are blue. There hasn't been a real frost yet, and the broadleaf trees are not yet showing all their autumn colors. Could be worse; this could be Los Angeles, where you have to look at date palms all year round - or whatever those goofy un-American vegetable stalks are.

But this is not Los Angeles. The green mountains are on the horizon and the cold, clean, God-given water is rushing through the stony creek beds, so all is well with my world.

If there could be six Michael Moores, maybe one of them would have been allocated to come watch my neighborhood vote. After all, the place is crawling with Republicans. Or would be, if we hadn't learnt to walk upright thanks to the miracle of Home Schooling. I could almost see him standing on the corner, his gut hanging over a beltful of expensive Japanese movie-making crap, sullenly filming all the pickup trucks and gun racks and the red-white-and-blue ribbons.

The polling place is a massive non-denominational Christian megaplex in the middle of a commercial district. You walk in under a sign that says LOVING GOD AND INVESTING IN PEOPLE, which makes more sense than the other way around. There are more people than I usually see when I go to vote.

The guy ahead of me holds the door open for me, and I say thanks. On the way out, I hold the door for an elderly couple, and they say thanks.

That's about it. No intimidation, no terrorist attacks, no suspicious mobs, no rude behavior, and no Michael Moore. Nothing resembling a tactical situation at all - not that I wouldn't have been up to facing a tactical situation, which makes things more challenging.

There is more excitement some miles to the east, we're told. A judge has barred Republican poll watchers from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I didn't think such a thing was imaginable, let alone possible. At the Christian megaplex there was a poll watcher from both parties at every table, because we don't allow people to steal ballot boxes or engage in other such Illinois-style behavior, around these parts. Fair is fair, around these parts.

The judge who barred the Republican poll watchers is Larry Piersol, who is a long-time friend (and one-time personal attorney) of Tom Daschle. In 1980, Piersol argued the lawsuit that put Tom Daschle in the senate. Daschle had actually conceded that election, and his opponent was already in Washington, when someone "discovered" a missing ballot box in a heavily Democratic Sioux Falls district. ("Heavens to Elizabeth, how did we manage to lose that?" they must have said. "The damn thing is only as big as an air conditioner. ") When Piersol won the suit to certify these votes, they put Daschle ahead by 16 votes.

This is how Daschle earned his first Beltway nickname, "Landslide". No joke.

Piersol is a Clinton appointee who was nominated for his judgeship by Daschle, so he has to show his gratitude. Fair is fair, around these parts, but that's getting carried away.

I wasn't old enough to vote when Daschle ran for the senate in 1980. But I well remember his opponent, Leo Thorsness, who came to speak at my school. Thorsness flew for the USAF in Vietnam, winning a Medal of Honor. He spent seven years in a North Vietnamese prison, where he was tortured so savagely that he could no longer raise his arms over his head. The evil creeps had hung him by his wrists until his shoulder tendons tore loose from his ribcage.

I was thinking of Leo Thorsness today when I went to vote. Daschle reminded me of him, with his latest funny business in the Eighth Circuit Court. I was thinking of Osama bin Laden, too, who has promised to punish all of us incorrigible Red-State bastards for failing to bend over to Islamo-fascism.

To all my fellow-countrymen in the Blue States, you will have earned your safety after today, though you will continue to receive the bulk of Homeland Security's attention (fair is fair). For myself, I'm proud to be living in the bull's eye. No hard feelings. See you when it's all over, boys and girls.