Remembering The Fair
I dropped off the LK at Grandma and Grandpa's this AM and took six year-old AE out On Adventures. Every year I try to take in the Bryn Mawr Festival of Garage Sales, and this year I was not to be denied, even though it was sprinkling rain on and off, the whole morning. We picked up a few odds and ends and had a fine father-daughter outing.
On the way home, I picked up two year-old LK and then drove through the Minnesota State Fair grounds. Although the Fair is only held once each year, in late August and early September, the grounds are used year-round for various functions, and the streets are open to traffic.
As I drove through, listening to today's NARN show on the car radio, I drove past the empty DFL (Democratic-Farmer Labor) Party booth, and was reminded of one of the more disturbing things I'm seen in politics in a long time. I blogged the event at the time, and - since I am extremely lazy - I reproduce my post of October 8 last in its entirity, below.
Read my account first, and then peruse the photos linked below of the Post It notes in question, lovingly reproduced here, for the first time ever. Those notes contain - in slogan form - the creed(s) of the modern Liberal Democrat, and go a long way in explaining why they lost the last Presidential election.
I went to the Minnesota State Fair in early September with The Buds this year, as I have for many a year. It's become a ritual for me over the past 30 years, to walk the grounds, eat greasy food and people-watch. Of course this year, being an election cycle, brought political activity to the Fair, as well.
Both the Democrat and Republican Party buildings were packed beyond what I have ever remembered seeing in a past election year. In fact, when I came up to the Republican Party building, I thought perhaps Senator Coleman might have been inside, so great was the crush of people in and out of the structure. Most were buying Bush/Cheney buttons and/or putting their names down for lawn signs.
There was a similar crush of people at the Democrat Party building, although I didn't go inside during the heat of the day. But on the way home, we were walking past the Democrat structure (not so much a building as a patio-like area with a roof over it) and as it was after 10 pm and was nearly abandoned, we decided to go in.
The area was bare, except for the back wall. Stuck to it were hundreds of post-it notes, on which Kerry/Edwards supporters had written what were ostensibly the reasons they would be voting for the Demo ticket in November.
There were dozens of references to Paul and Sheila Wellstone, and there were references to the need for a Compassionate America, and Health Care, and Jobs, and Iraq, and the UN. Several of notes proclaimed the pithy line, "When Clinton Lied, No One Died." Many made veiled (and not-so-veiled) references to the Bush administration as Nazi Germany. There was even an occurrence or two of the "If You Are Not Outraged, You Aren't Paying Attention." Every conceivable cliche, lie and slander against Bush that has ever been uttered by the likes of Michael Moore, Eleanor Clift or James Carville was on that wall.
Some of the notes were interesting, some were amusing. Mostly I found them simply bizarre. The writers of the notes were possessed of a psychic rage requiring the kind of emotional catharsis that can only come from writing a post-it note and placing it on a wall, for all to see. It seemed a sort of Political Wailing Wall, at which the mourning masses could place petitions to their once-and-future-messiah, for speedy deliverance.
(I saw nothing of the sort at the Republican booth. There wasn't the slightest reference to John Kerry, by staff or public. There was merely a flurry of well-coordinated activity to distribute literature and sell buttons and recruit homes for lawn signs. I take that back. There was one negative political message, from a ragged-looking grey-haired woman outside on the sidewalk, holding up a handmade sign stating that Bush, Cheney and Rumfeld are criminals. Yeah, whatever.)
As I stood there, reading the litany of rage, I decided to document what I was reading, so I pulled out my digital camera and began to take photos of portions of the wall. It was while I was doing so that I witnessed something chilling, something both fascinating and deeply disturbing.
A family group had wandered into the Kerry shrine and were reading the notes, as were the rest of us: a father, mother and a boy about four and a girl about seven. As they discussed what they were reading, the father proceeded to calmly explain to his seven year-old daughter how it was that the Nazi's - he called them that - had taken over the White House by subterfuge, that they'd stolen the election, that Bush was first a draft-dodger and had later gone AWOL from the National Guard, that he was unfit to command the Armed Forces, that Bush had presided over the worst economy in modern times, that under his watch the nation had lost 3,000,000 jobs. In short, he was reciting the the usual left-wing shibboleth talking-points. And of course, during all this he mentioned no positive attributes of John Kerry's; he merely listed the Evils Of Bush.
Then, in a slow but determined manner that emphasized his resolve, the father proceeded to tell his little girl that he hated Bush; he hated Bush; he hated Bush. When questioned by his daughter as to whether it was OK to hate, he replied that it certainly was OK to hate Bush, because the president was evil and deserved to be hated.
I glanced over at this very average-looking guy and his average-looking family and realized that I was standing next to a sad and pathetic man, a man possessed of a spirit of meanness that was precisely that which he had projected onto those he believed to be his enemies: Bush, and by extension, those who would support the president (me). And I realized in a flash what has been borne out since, that the Modern Democratic party is a party of hate, and not much else.
I was angry, not that he was maligning President Bush, or me, but that he was passing on to his precious little daughter all of the bigotry and rage and ugliness that fills his shabby heart, and his feeble brain. This man, most likely an otherwise good citizen, who probably holds down a job, mows his lawn and takes his daughter to the Urgent Care in the middle of the night when she gets hurt, was was telling this little girl that it is OK to hate the president because he is the moral equivalent of a Nazi. How pathetic and shallow. How ugly. And sad. May God have mercy on his soul.
As my Buds and I were walking home that night, we discussed what we had witnessed. I was both saddened and encouraged.
I was saddened by the reminder that there really are those who believe the foolishness that Michael Moore and his ilk spew forth, who are filled with an irrational and visceral hatred of President Bush. I don't object to their dissent, and I can understand disagreeing with the president on all manner of issues. But the kind of vitriol I witnessed that night goes far beyond disagreement; it wanders into the territory of psychosis.
If Bush wins - as I predict he will - what will happen to the poor man I saw at the Kerry booth at the Fair? Will he crack up? Will he hurt someone else, or himself? What harm will people like that do themselves or others if they feel all hope is truly lost? I've seen how a wounded animal behaves when cornered; it is dangerous thing to confront. (In fact, we've seen the thuggery of the AFL-CIO the past week, displaying exactly the kind of animalistic behavior I fear we will see more of, as the election day draws near.)
But I was encouraged, as well. The kind of nastiness I saw that night at the State Fair will not play well with undecided voters this November. It seems that the Kerry campaign - and Kerry supporters - managed to convince themselves that the rest of the country hates Bush as much as they do, that all Kerry needed to do was to step up to the podium at their convention in uniform and report for duty, and that he would be welcomed as a liberator. They seem to have honestly believed that the election would be all over but the inauguration. How wrong they were - and how wrong they are.
The Kerry supporters simply cannot understand how anyone could refuse to view the world as they do. In their blind hatred and rage, they are incapable of behaving rationally. Of course, the more irrationally they behave, the less likely they will be to draw undecideds to their side. And that can only bode well for our side.
So, in closing, I wish to begin the Long Goodbye: I bid the retiring Junior Senator from Massachussets farewell and good riddance. And, as he goes, may he - like some latter-day Pied Piper - lead his army of scaries back to the wildnerness from whence they came.