Sunday, October 29, 2006

Grey Panthers Get Restless

A day or two ago, in Allison Park, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, 40 senior citizens carrying donuts gathered outside the district office of Rep. Melissa Hart (R), to protest the donut hole in the new Medicare Prescription Plan. Here's a little multiple choice test for you:

Did Rep. Hart:

a) Squeal, "Kaffe Klatch!", order up 40 cups of coffee, invite the group in and chow down with them?

b) Blame Bill Clinton?


c) Call for three armed police from nearby Hampton Township to disperse this dangerous crowd.

It seems the elections bring out the worst in some candidates. Which, strangely enough, reminds me of an election back in the 60s, in Yellville, wouldn't you know.

DJ and I hadn't lived there very long, and, although it was his home town, I was still trying to get acclimated. That year, DJ and some of the other young people in town were determined to topple the "old guard" in the county. Now, DJ and the other upstarts were aware that the "old guard" was in the habit of buying votes with liquor, and they had been pretty successful at it up til then. But, they had to import it because we were in a dry county. So, he and his group were going to cruise the backroads the night before the election and keep them out of the county.

Winthrop Rockefeller was running for Governor against Orval Faubus, and had mobilized volunteers in the Republican Party to go to every county as poll watchers. For some reason, they didn't think the election would be honest!!

The poll watcher for our county was a young attorney who had been in law school with DJ, so he was staying with us. A little while before dark on election eve, DJ, Friend and I got in the car and went down to the square. Friend and I (being from Little Rock, the edge of civilization) were astonished to see men milling around with guns strapped on. DJ mentioned that this was the first year in a long time that someone hadn't been killed before a big election. I mentioned that I was glad that at least he was sensible enough not to have a gun, and he opened the glove compartment and showed me the pistol he usually kept in his tackle box, for shooting "Copperdamnheads", at the White River.

That was a wild night, tearing up and down dirt roads, spoiling all the opposition's fun. Friend didn't have much to say, but he was watching with interest. I was a wreck.

The next day, Friend went dutifully to the polls, and when it was all over,we had a new Governor and new county officers. Friend came back to the house on his way back to Little Rock and said, "Pack your bags, Betty. I'm taking you home to your mama."

Of course, I didn't go home to mama. And, that was the last really exciting election in Yellville. It was inevitable that we would become civilized. And, as Mark Twain said, "A people once civilized can't ever be un-civilized, again," or something like that.


Dogwalkmusings said...

Your last paragraph; Mark Twain quote. Don't you wish it were true?

Annie said...

Don't you imagine we'll be seeing more and more groups of gray-haired people as the population ages and frustration mounts? I know I'll be one of them.

Chelle P said...

"Winthrop Rockefeller was running for Governor against Orval Faubus..."

You just can't make up names like that! Can you imagine meeting someone now called Orval Faubus? Awesome. Just awesome.

Great story (if a wee bit scary!).

Betty said...

chelle p: One of these days, I'm going to make you a list of names of people in my area, as well as a list of the names of counties and towns, if you think Orval Faubus is funny. Maybe that's going to be a blog. Hmmmmmm.

willi said...

Elections! Oh yea.

A friend I grew up with in Little Rock loves to tell a story about one his relatives who was shot in Hot Springs over a sheriff's election.

I guess arguing over chads is a little more civilized.