In 2002 I wrote to someone in an e-mail:
…My world changed forever on December 12, 2000…
I know of at least one other person who agreed with me at the time:
…What must underlie petitioners’ entire federal assault on the Florida election procedures is an unstated lack of confidence in the impartiality and capacity of the state judges who would make the critical decisions if the vote count were to proceed. Otherwise, their position is wholly without merit. The endorsement of that position by the majority of this Court can only lend credence to the most cynical appraisal of the work of judges throughout the land. It is confidence in the men and women who administer the judicial system that is the true backbone of the rule of law. Time will one day heal the wound to that confidence that will be inflicted by today’s decision. One thing, however, is certain. Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.
I respectfully dissent…
Well, apparently, two people:
….He came from a tradition where the independence of the judiciary was the foundation of the rule of law. And Souter believed Bush v. Gore mocked that tradition. His colleagues’ actions were so transparently, so crudely partisan that Souter thought he might not be able to serve with them anymore…
…There were times when David Souter thought of Bush v. Gore and wept…
(Matt “baby” Blunt’s view of the Missouri non-partisan court plan is the republican party line, eh?)
This year I didn’t publicly mark the anniversary. I used to:
December 12, 2003
I’ve come full circle, of sorts. Dick Cheney was in downtown Kansas City to speak at a fundraiser for another politician, so I just had to drive to the city to picket him.
My colleague drove and a student activist joined us. We left Warrensburg at about 8:30 a.m. We arrived downtown and took our place across from the hotel at 10:00 a.m. Security was extensive with the streets lined with police cars. We found ourselves the only three protesters there. The temperature was in the teens – we were each bundled up in heavy coats, gloves, caps and scarves.
I held the “…one nation, under surveillance” and “Stop Mad Cowboy Disease” signs in alternation. We stood on the corner and could see the invited attendees crossing the enclosed skywalk above us to get into the event. Several stopped to read our signs. We waved at them.
Early on one truck passed by with the occupant yelling at us, “Get a job.” We laughed at him. As another vehicle passed by a passenger rolled down the window and yelled “You should be ashamed.” I yelled back, “No, you should be ashamed.” We encountered a few passing obscene gestures. One city worker walked by and said to me, “I like your sign.”
A plain clothes individual with a dog came across the street toward us to let the dog out in the park plaza behind us. A little while later a Kansas City police officer with a dog came by us with the same purpose. My colleague engaged him in conversation. At one point the officer said of the dog, “As a federal employee it has better health insurance then I do.”
Of course, the local media couldn’t quite get it right, with the newspaper misquoting one of our signs: “….A handful of protesters waved signs across the street from the hotel. ‘Demand the whole truth,’ read one sign. ‘Cheney & Halliburton = corruption, greed,’ said another….”
The local CBS affiliate film crew and a cameraman from the local ABC affiliate ignored us. A camera woman from the local Fox affiliate filmed us, at one point clipping a microphone to our student activist and interviewing her while the noise of a helicopter hovering overhead intruded on the soundscape. The first question asked, “Why are you here?” “To protest the occupation of Iraq.” “What message do you hope Cheney gets from your being here?” “He knows…”
We were joined by several other protesters. One had brought a number of small American flags which he distributed to the group. At the protest’s peak we had ten individuals. A still photographer took our pictures.
One individual who was very agitated approached our group. He was a courier who could not get through the streets which were shut down for the motorcade. He swore and shouted and said, “Even when Bush came here they didn’t shut down this much stuff.” The ABC cameraman said to him, “You’re the road rage guy.” My colleague talked with him for a while in order to get him to calm down.
One protester crossed to the corner opposite us and stood alone holding one of the small American flags along with his small card board sign “Why do you want access to evil?”
The motorcade came down the wrong way on a one way street one block over. We didn’t mind since we weren’t there for Dick Cheney to see us. We were there to let others know that they aren’t alone and we have not forgotten.
Downtown traffic was rerouted so that it passed us on the street corner. We were on the receiving end of a number of friendly waves, thumbs up, and honking horns. There were a few stone faced looks and thumbs down gestures. A group of four twenty-somethings in a car passed us by, giving us thumbs down. They rolled their windows down to shout at us as they turned the corner – we couldn’t hear anything.
At noon we left the protest and walked back to the car for the drive home.
The next day an acquaintance mentioned that she had seen a story on the protest on one of the local television newscasts. She said one of the protesters was holding a sign she liked: “Stop Mad Cowboy Disease”. I told her that I had been the one holding that sign. She didn’t recognize me bundled up with the scarf over my mouth.
The world changed forever on December 12, 2000. We all have to deal with the consequences of that day and the installation of that little man – we will for a long time to come.