Getting testy in Florida

A Marine Corps vet tells some tales of confrontation from the front lines of the get-out-the-vote effort in Tampa.


Jim Jones
November 2, 2004 12:25AM (UTC)

I was out today with three postal workers and one teacher knocking on doors in the poorest sections of Tampa. Of course, they were predominantly black and Hispanic. While we were jumping in and out of the car, we had the Redskins-Packers game on and were cheering on the Packers.

We've been out every day, seven days a week, getting out the vote. We have been identifying Kerry supporters to ask them to vote early and to provide transportation if needed.

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Since we've been going to previously identified union households the feedback is about 90 percent for Kerry. However, even considering that we are not getting a true cross-section of the voters, it's hard not to think that this area will go to Kerry. As the talking heads have been saying, it's all about getting the base out to the polls.

Strange shit here in Florida. Some of our teams ran across some "young" groups of two and three with "generic" badges asking black households if they had absentee ballots and offering to "deliver" them to the polling office. It looks strongly like these are Republican teams out to destroy ballots.

We had one of the IBEW retirees, age 73, get punched out while sitting in his car at a polling place while waiting to vote. He had Kerry stickers on his car and this 37-year-old asshole went over and attacked him. Well, the union hall sent over a "security team" of eight to "assist" voters and protect them from such assholes.

I have a "Veteran for Kerry" sticker on my pickup's back window, right below my Marine Corps sticker. I've had two assholes yell shit at me when passing. One of them kept cutting me off on the freeway, giving me the finger. I had another confrontation with a fat coward who passed me on the sidewalk when I was walking from a house I had just worked. He said, "With that Kerry button on, I can see that you didn't serve in Vietnam." In so many words I corrected him by telling him that I went there twice as a Recon Marine. I then asked him, "What were you? A fucking Army cook?" He then said some more, including a "fuck you." I then yelled at him, "Come on back here you fat fucking yellow bastard and say that." He was about 6 foot and between 250 and 300 pounds. He got in his truck and took off. I chased him on foot just for show and to rub it in.

We've had other teams experience similar treatment. One of the Insulators Union guys from New Jersey punched out some prick who mouthed off to him. There seems to be a pattern with these loudmouths. They'll yell something like, "commie," or "pacifist" but then flee when they find out you are neither, especially the latter.

I'm getting too old to get into fistfights but, dammit, a fellow just can't allow such misconduct around himself.

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Anyway, we're out again tomorrow. I'm early-voting in the morning. The early voting has been huge. There are typically two- and three-hour waits to vote. Most of it is caused by the large number of voters and six constitutional amendments on the back of the ballot.

Let's see what tomorrow brings.

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Semper Fi


Jim Jones

Jim Jones is a United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance veteran, currently volunteering with the get-out-the-vote effort in Florida.

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2004 Elections

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