Saturday, October 23, 2004

Another rash of anti-Republican violence...

In the last few days alone, the party of tolerance and diversity (I don't believe it either) has been doing some thuggery in these places:

1) Portland, Oregon:

Someone smashed the windows of the Multnomah County Republican office in Southeast Portland on Thursday, perhaps the latest sign some Oregonians have tossed out civility in their zeal to put their man in the White House.

Oh, and of course it would be too much for the Democrats to actually condemn it:

"But the fact is that the reason the Republican Party is feigning righteous indignation is because they don't want to talk about the 30,000 jobs lost and the 180,000 Oregonians who have lost health care," said Neel Pender, executive director of the state Democratic Party.

Since when is protesting vandalism "feigning righteous indignation?"

2) Flagstaff, Arizona:

Political motivations turned criminal Thursday night or early Friday when vandals smashed a large glass door with a section of cinder block at the Republican Party headquarters in downtown Flagstaff.

A pile of shattered glass joined egg shells filling the entryway to the GOP offices, located on Humphreys Street across from Wheeler Park. Fliers with information criticizing President Bush were staked up outside the door.

But all of this pales in comparison to the following:

3) Florida:

One woman who voted early in Boca Raton, at the Southwest County Regional Library, complained that as she stood in line, two men behind her were "trashing our president," Fletcher said, declining to identify the woman. She tried to ignore them. Then the man touched her arm and said, "Who are you voting for?"

"I said, `I don't think that's an appropriate question,'" the woman said she responded.

"Uh oh! We have a Bush supporter here," screamed the man behind her.

For the 2 1/2 hours she had to wait in line, she was heckled by the man. As they neared the voting room, someone in the rear of the line yelled, "I sure hope everyone here is voting for Kerry!" she reported.

That's when the man behind her held his hand over her head and screamed, "We have a Republican right here!" There were "boos and jeers" from the crowd.

"I felt intimidated, harassed and threatened!" the woman wrote in her complaint to the Republican Party.

Elaine Fandino complained to the Republican Party that she took her mother to vote on South Military Trail in Palm Beach County and was confronted by 25 people supporting John Kerry for president. The crowd was "very angry and used foul language," she reported. She said the man next to her said, "Where's my shotgun?"

In Broward County, at the regional library in Pembroke Pines, a voter complained that Kerry supporters used abusive language about President Bush and had signs and banners within 50 feet of the entrance.

Kerry supporters were "shoving anti-Bush propaganda at us," complained the voter, who said he shouted back "Vote President Bush!"

A woman who voted in Plantation at the West Regional Courthouse said she was offended to see five or six people with "huge stick on badges" for Kerry/Edwards, standing near the voting machines.

"Never in all the years of voting do we remember being allowed to show a badge or poster or literature while inside the area where the voters are standing ready to cast their vote," she wrote.

Juan D'Arce of Miami complained to the Republicans that he tried early voting in downtown Miami. He was wearing a Bush pin, but he couldn't stand the taunting, so he turned away and did not vote.

Howard Sherman complained about his voting experience at North Shore Branch Library in Miami-Dade County. He found a crowd of Kerry supporters blocking the door.

"They were positioned directly in front of the entrance to the library in such a manner that it would be impossible to avoid them while entering the polling place," he reported.

Sherman said he tried to slip through the thinnest part of the crowd, but a woman in a Kerry T-shirt grabbed his arm and asked if he was voting for Kerry.

"I seem to recall from civics class that this sort of electioneering is illegal," Sherman complained...

I can think of little more dangerous to the future of democracy than the intimidation of voters at the polls, by partisans of any stripe. Let us hope that the Democratic Party has the sense to condemn this before it gets out of hand. Even if they do, though, it probably won't stop...


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