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Vox Florida: BS Interviews Republican Demonstrators

The following interviews with Republican demonstrators were conducted outside the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Sunday, November 25, 2000.
Aaron Shuman

Issue #53X, January 2001

I thought I was flying home to spend Thanksgiving weekend with an ailing parent. Then my hometown of West Palm Beach, Florida, became an international news story over the manual recount of ballots to determine the race for President.

The following interviews with Republican demonstrators were conducted outside the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Sunday, November 25, the final day for completing manual ballot recounts to certify Florida's vote. The interviews were conducted from 5-8pm, by which point it was known that Palm Beach County had failed to meet its deadline and George W. Bush was declared Florida's presidential winner.

By now, it is well documented that Republican Party operatives and congressional aides were flown into Florida, all expenses paid by the Bush campaign, to co-ordinate street demonstrations. A front page article in the December 1 Palm Beach Post cited as GOP inspiration the November 13 march where Jesse Jackson was shouted off a stage in downtown West Palm Beach and where a crowd of thousands were turned back by about 100 angry Bush supporters. Party protests successfully pressured Miami-Dade County to stop its manual recount on Wednesday, November 22. Emboldened demonstrators, rarely numbering more than a couple hundred, moved north to Broward, then Palm Beach County. The day before these interviews Bush supporters shut down Military Trail, the major thoroughfare in front of the EOC, for at least an hour. Democratic Party clubs finally organized a counter-demonstration on November 25, with their first "Count Every Vote" candlelight vigil. With police tape and sheriffs to separate protesters, the scene at the Center that Sunday had the tension of an abortion clinic defense, with safety marshals in orange reflective vests watching over the Gore side, where most demonstrators mutely held signs or candles. There was no analogous display of event security on the Bush side. By the end of the evening, with arguments between camps taking place before television cameras, men identifying themselves as representatives of Governor Jeb Bush dispersed the Republican crowd.

One reporter described the events as a "block party" for Republicans, many of whom claimed they were coming out to protest for the first time. It was more like a temporary autonomous zone where protesters drummed like hippies, talked like Nazis, and cited events of the past week and a half as the birth of a re-energized, aggressive protest movement. Discredited old ideas received new births: Florida House Speaker Tom Feeney proposed literacy tests as the solution to voter error caused by the butterfly ballot. Old rhetoric was there too. Right-wing demonstrators protested Gore's "carpetbagging lawyers" flown in to "steal the election" and asserted "states rights" against the prospect of federal intervention. Listening to the civil discourse was like witnessing to the resuscitation of segregationist logic.

There was a complete inversion of civil rights rhetoric. Military voters whose absentee ballots were disqualified replaced Haitian-Americans and African-Americans as images of disenfranchisement. This happened despite the more legitimate claims of disenfranchisement by the latter groups, the state's history of absentee ballot fraud, and a Republican concession that election fraud occurred in Seminole County. Republicans cited the 14th Amendment to argue the "disenfranchisement" of people who had voted, while ignoring the rights of those who had been denied the vote, according to testimony collected by the NAACP. And finally, while white liberals and the state Democratic Party fractured along the color line where they are most vulnerable, born-again Christians of color called for "kill[ing] the race card" and led chants of "Latin, black, and white must unite" — for "one nation under God", of course.

The effect was chilling and cumulative. One Republican interviewee was a black activist claiming responsibility for chasing "house Negro" Jesse Jackson out of town; another, a white retiree, likened Al Gore to Hitler while making racist statements — such as Joe Lieberman "must be extremely near and dear to [the interviewer's] heart," because of a supposed Jewish crook in my nose. Others Republican interviewees included a French racist railing against immigrants and a Roseanne-like woman citing the printing of ballots in Spanish and Creole as proof of racial fairness in the electoral process (notwithstanding contrary evidence and evidence that requests for additional ID and threats of deportation were made).

Alienation frames these interviews. The rapid proliferation of right-wing demonstrations in Florida without resistance from a counter-presence says a great deal about the alienation of state Democrats from a grassroots base, save those black Democrats who organized through churches and synagogues to generate opposition. Alienation from reality arrived in the form of the mass media's distance from street-level reporting, given that the media failed to quote consistently what Republican demonstrators were actually saying. In the spirit of bridging over these alienations, Bad Subjects presents a selection of their words.

The French Perspective: Marie, 50s, white, West Palm Beach

This woman was the first person I met. Seeing my press badge, she approached and insisted on speaking to me, declaring she was from France and could give me the French perspective. In the spirit of internationalism, I complied.

Marie: I am from France. I am American; I am an immigrant. And I think if we let Mr. Gore go on, he'll destroy this country. This is a country of freedom. We have counted about four times, the vote, and we should not count anymore, because we have won. Mr. Bush has won. And Mr. Gore cannot behave this way, or we are going to be just like living in Russia. Where you're gonna have the ATF pick up people, and they're gonna have an army of immigrants, and they're gonna pick everybody up in this country. Thank you. [She turns to leave.]

BS: What do you mean by army of immigrants?

Marie: Well, I believe that they're putting more and more immigrants in the army and the navy and everything, so they have the control over everybody. And it's very dangerous because we'll have a government like in Cuba.

BS: The immigrants having control over everybody?

Marie: Well, I say that they are making people go in the army and navy who are not living here a long time. So they can manipulate those votes a little more than they were before.

BS: Do you think it's because other people aren't joining the navy?

Marie: Well, I think because [unintelligible] the real military people are the ones who defend this country, because they [don't] want to be under the United Nations. And the United Nations should not tell America what to do. We have a free country. My father was in the French military, and I think we should just respect each country with its own military. We don't need to be a participant in the United Nations. We should have just one country, one military, and one government.

BS: And were you born here?

Marie: I was born in French Morocco.

BS: When did you come to the U.S.?

Marie: I came about thirty years ago. I had nothing when I came in this country. Everybody in this country has a choice: they can work hard like I do. Right now I'm working twelve hours a day helping my husband. We pay a lot of taxes, so everybody can be happy. But I tell you in this country, everybody has an opportunity to become someone. If they are poor, they shouldn't go to McDonalds. They should stay home and eat and make food for their kids. This country is the land of opportunity. And we are not going to have this beautiful country destroyed.....Like Jean-Jacques Rousseau said, inequalities are gonna be forever. Inequalities are here to stay. And we cannot have the idealistic world where you have the rich; everybody is rich or everybody is poor. It's impossible. Because the rich are working for everybody else to get their paycheck for welfare. So we don't have a country with inequality. It's just human. You're not going to make everybody equal. But they promise everybody. It's impossible. And they will destroy this country just like in Russia, where our economy will be bad, we'll depend on Chinese to give us our food, and it's not nice. This country is beautiful. God save and God bless America. Thank you. [She turns to leave.]

BS: Can I ask you one more question? Compared to France, how is America the land of opportunity?

Marie: [responds with difficult pronunciation — interviewer rephrases question]

BS: How are opportunities greater over here than in France?

Marie: No, there is not greater opportunity in Europe. I was a teacher in Europe; there is no opportunity in Europe. Because this country, you can work two or three jobs. You can go to school at night. I have my real estate license but I decided to be a mother, and now I'm helping my husband. But this country, you can do anything you want, you can, and don't destroy it, please don't destroy it.

Sore Losers: Margaret, 49, white, Boynton Beach

Margaret was one of the voters summoned to protest by an automated dialer the Republican Party used, calling its lists to tell people where, when, and why to go. Like Marie, she has lived in South Florida for about two years.

BS: So what are you doing out here today?

Margaret: Supporting President Bush. Get that: President Bush. He's already been elected, not once but twice but three times. So Al needs to concede. Stop being such a loser. Such a sore loser.

BS: And did you do anything for Bush before the election?

Margaret: Just support him. Yeah, I can read the butterfly ballot, no trouble. I live in Palm Beach County, no problem. But if you're from here, you know how all those senior citizens drive, no wonder they couldn't figure out how to vote.

BS: Well, what do you think about that?

Margaret: I don't think there was a problem until they all got together to have coffee later in the day, and then somebody said "Did you see how confusing that was?" and then the others got on the bandwagon. I don't believe all those10,000 affidavits that are signed. I think those are just sore Gore losers that are saying they don't know how they voted. Seriously, I do...[These affidavits were collected by the Democratic Party from Palm Beach County voters, who stated that they feared having misvoted because of the butterfly ballot.] And the other thing I heard on the news like a day or two after the election was that all these people that were complaining about the ballot, they said that voters should have a right to vote, but you also have a responsibility, and it's your responsibility. The reason that ballot was mailed to you was so that you would study it, be familiar with it, and know how to vote. So therefore, I don't think they should have done any of this hand recounting and stuff. It's just like anything, your job or whatever. When you screw up, hey, you get fired. You're not following the rules like you're supposed to. So I think they need to focus more on that.

BS: I was reading that the State House Speaker Tom Feeney was suggesting literacy tests.

Margaret: I didn't hear about it. But you know, they had the ballots available in like three different languages: Spanish and Creole in addition to English. If people took their responsibilities more seriously, they would have known, they could have asked for a Spanish ballot.

BS: Because that's been one of the things that the Gore side has been saying. Is that...

Margaret: Nope, it was available.

BS: ...the issues about languages at polls...

Margaret: And you could even ask somebody to read the ballot to you if you don't understand. The other thing is, too, if you make a mistake, then you should say "I made a mistake, I need a new ballot". The other thing, and I do this, because I've lived in a lot of different states, and even though I'm literate enough to probably figure it out on my own, I always ask for a demonstration...They showed me how to do it. So there's no reason for these people to be crying foul. There was enough opportunity. [There have been numerous newspaper stories about voters of every race who realized they misvoted but claim poll workers denied them another ballot to correct their errors.]

Flori-Duh: Yvonne, 56, white, West Palm Beach

A woman wheeling a cart turned and introduced herself to me as the creator of the Flori-Duh T-shirt. The word is contained within the body of the state, in two different colors. The Smithsonian collected her shirt on a recent trip for election memorabilia. She had two posters taped to her cart, one announcing T-SHIRTS $10 and the other with a copy of the article that appeared about her in the Palm Beach Post.

BS: So when did you start making the Flori-duh T-shirts?

Yvonne: I been out here about a week, I guess. I sold a lot of em; I don't know how many. And then I had the green one. I have two styles: this one here, and then the green ones, the one that was chosen for the Smithsonian by Mr. Byrd. And then I did another one that said — EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA BAD CHAD ACCUSED BUTTERFLY PREGNANT INSPECT FOR DIMPLES That was the other one. Those sold out real quick.

BS: Really?

Yvonne: Yeah, so I'm out of these Flori-duh shirts, except for maybe five of them.

BS: How many do you think you've sold in the past week?

Yvonne: Probably a total of close to 300. I could have sold a ton more. I was only out here like four nights. I couldn't get here cuz I have a real job. [laughs]

BS: That always makes it difficult.

Yvonne: People were leaving their phone number. I got a list of phone numbers to call up. So I'm trying to get this on the Internet, because I know my fifteen minutes of fame are almost over. [laughs] I gotta get it while that fire's hot.

BS: Why have you been coming out?

Yvonne: I'm definitely for Bush. Although I'm a Democrat, I voted for Bush. I prayed about it, and the Lord told me to vote Bush. I wasn't real enthused about either one, to tell you the truth, but I felt like God wanted people to know that He is in control, and that is what this is all about. I don't know if the media is aware of this, but in 1999, there were two Christians who prophecied this to happen. They said that the eyes of the world would be said Palm Beach County, and the other one said West Palm Beach.

BS: Really? Who were those guys?

Yvonne: You know what, I don't know the names. [laughs] I do have them, but I don't have them with me. Then there was another propheciser who said recently that this will not be over until the first of the year. And then it was the very next morning, I had the TV on, and I heard one of the news people say the same thing.

BS: About the legal stuff?

Yvonne: Yeah, he said the same thing, about the whole legal mess...So I believe it. I don't think this is going to be over 'til then.

BS: So why, as a Democrat, did you decide to vote for Bush?

Yvonne: Because, as I said, I did pray about it. I wasn't real enthused about either one. I didn't feel like Bush was going to be strong enough to lead this country. And after prayer, God showed me through Moses, that Moses wasn't really ready to lead his people out. And with God all things are possible. He did show me that. And the very next day, I was listening to a Christian program, and the lady on the program said almost the same thing that had been told to me. She gave Moses as an example.

BS: Really?

Yvonne: Yeah, same thing. So that to me is a confirm-ment of that's why I chose Bush. I'm out here for two reasons. The shirts at first started out as a fun thing, and a lot of people thought it was funny, and I was gonna do it just for myself and family and friends. And they said, Why don't you just sell them? So I decided to sell them. And it just took off like fire.

BS: Yeah, I've been seeing Flori-Duh all over the place.

Yvonne: [laughs] Some of them around here aren't mine. The styles that you see here tonight, those are the two styles that I created. I designed them and had them made...But from what I hear there are other Flori-Duhs in different versions. It doesn't matter if you copyright anything. Mine is copywrit as far as because it's already been in the paper, established with my name. But I'm not going to fight over it. [laughs] You know, it really is sad that this whole thing is happening. But it doesn't really surprise me. I mean, two weeks before the election, no one was even sure who they wanted. I mean, they weren't even enthused about the election, because neither party was one that anyone was that enthused about. And now they're fighting over their man, so to say. But I've always felt from the beginning that Bush would be the one. I just pray that whoever gets in, that God changes their heart if it's not in the right place, for the people. Definitely.

BS: Was your church politically active? Did your church back Bush?

Yvonne: Our church, they don't come right out and tell ya. They never come out and tell ya who to vote for. But as a Christian, most other Christians believe in Bush more so than Gore.

BS: Why do you think that is?

Yvonne: Because of the abortion issue. With Gore, he was for getting the abortion, what do you call it, the partial abortion where the baby is so far along that it actually could be born. And I've seen that before; they showed it on some TV show. It's the most gory, to use the expression, that I have ever seen. I mean, just totally gory.

BS: Yeah, that's messy.

Yvonne: And so if they ever took that in front of the Senate and showed them what I saw, they would never let that into law. Never let it into law, it's sickening how they suck out the brains of a live baby, you know? Before I became a Christian, I would have been for abortion. And I do believe in it, in some cases, where if a woman was raped or it was her life, you know, that person definitely has the right. But if a baby is old enough to be born, that is a baby. [A man walks up. His T-shirt displays the American flag, flanked by the words "God," "Family," "Business," and "Country," with God on top in large type and Business on the bottom.]

Man: Amen.

Yvonne: The Bible says I knew you before you were even in your womb.

Man: Amen.

Yvonne: And I do truly believe in that. So that is why the Christians are for Bush.

BS: That makes sense.

Man: You voted with conviction; good for you. It's the only reason I voted for him. Good for you. You didn't vote your pocketbook; you voted your conscience.

Yvonne: Yes.

Man: On that one issue alone.

Yvonne: Yes.

Man: That's exactly what I did.

Yvonne: Yes, it more or less was why I did — that issue.

Man: Good for you. [Walks off.]

Yvonne: He must go to my church, because we had a concert, some Christian singers, and that's where I got that shirt [he was wearing], for the Fourth of July.

BS: When did you become a Christian? How long ago was that?

Yvonne: Well, actually, I've known the Lord all my life, but like most people, I never lived my life as a Christian. But I have, thank God I have been from the pits as they say, for the past — oh gosh I don't know — at least twenty years. But I became very close to the Lord when I lost a son.

BS: Okay.

Yvonne: I turned a bad thing into a good thing.

BS: When was that?

Yvonne: I lost my son seven years ago. I actually became a Christian more than twenty years ago. But even more so, I've been having a relationship. There's a difference between being a Christian and having a relationship, and I actually have a strong relationship with Jesus Christ for the past seven years, since the death of my son. His death gave me back my life in realism... [The man returns with money for a T-shirt.]

Man: I'm sorry for cutting in. I'm feeling wonderful. I feel a lot better after I heard her testimony.

Yvonne: Extra large is the only size I have.

Man: That's all you got? You don't have a large?

Yvonne: I have a large in this one. But this is the Smithsonian one. You really would rather have this one.

Man: Actually, the Chad one is [the Smithsonian one.]

Yvonne: I don't have Chad anymore.

Man: But that's the one they're putting in.

Yvonne: Bad Chad? No, un-uh. They're putting this one in.

Man: Well, it doesn't matter. I'm gonna take it anyway, but that's not what I thought.

Yvonne: [laughs] Well, read the newspaper. I got the article. [Points to the front of her cart where it is taped. Laughs.]

Man: I'm not saying you're lying, mind you.

Yvonne: No, it said that in the paper.

BS: What was the first night you came out here? And why did you come out?

Yvonne: I think it was last Saturday. Then I came out Sunday after church. Just those two days, and then I came out again Monday, because I was off Monday. Then I came out this weekend, so that's five times.

Man: God bless you.

Yvonne: Thank you. You too, sir. [Man buys Flori-Duh T-shirt and walks off. Interview below refers to him as Flori-Duh Man.]

BS: Did you get phone calls? Like some folks have been telling me about the calls they got from the phone bank?

Yvonne: From the phone bank?

BS: The Republican Party had like a recorded message...

Yvonne: No, actually one of the guys from my church came up and told me that tonight out here... Don Weeks, he's with the Republican Party. And then whatshisname from our Christian radio station. He was out here tonight. I gave him one of my shirts today in my Bible class. He was out here doing interviews with people. He said, " — I need a Democrat, Yvonne. Have you seen one around?" [laughs] I said, they're way down there.

BS: What's the Christian radio station?

Yvonne: WRMB. I listen to that one, and WAY-FM. They're more for the younger generation, I would say, but I like both of those stations. Ken is the one that I like so well on WRMB. He's the one that I know well from my class.

BS: So when you came out the first Saturday, why did you come out?

Yvonne: Well, a lot of people said if you're gonna go sell your shirts, you should go over where they sell them. And to tell you the truth, I was on [another] corner all by myself, and I thought, well, this is kinda crazy; I should go down [to the EOC] and check it out. I didn't know what it would be like. So I came down here. There wasn't a whole lot of people here, so I parked across the street. You know what's funny? As busy as it's been in the parking area over there, I have had an open spot right in front every time.

BS: How'd that happen?

Yvonne: I know, my son said that tonight. He said "Mom, you got front row again". My son came out for the first time tonight to take pictures. And I said because every night I pray to God let me have a front row seat and every day it's there. I left last night when it started just barely drizzling, and I was tired; I had sold out all of my t-shirts, so I thought, Oh, I'll go ahead and leave. I wasn't in my car, I'm telling ya, not even a minute, and it poured down rain. [laughs] And today, I was selling over there when it started pouring down rain, and I thought Oh man, I really need an umbrella. I looked over. This umbrella had been sitting there the whole time I'd been selling shirts. No one had ever come to get it, so I picked it up. Some lady comes over and says, " — Can I stand underneath here with you?" We got to talking, and she told me Yvonne, if you want to put your shirts on my Net, you can. I've been trying to get my shirts on the Net, and she came over to me and offered. Offered me to put them on her show, on her Net. So it's just... [laughs] it's called a God thing. [laughs] [sighs] But I have been interviewed; it's really funny. I've been interviewed by every media throughout the world. I've been on Japan, China, France, Germany, Norway, their 60 Minutes. Their interpreters wanted to know what Duh means. They mispronounced it as Doo. Flori-DOO? I said, well, it's Flori-Duh! So now I'm trying to explain Duh! to these people.

BS: To the Norwegians?

Yvonne: Yeah, and to all of the other ones who had been doing the interviews that did not understand. The Chinaman, oh he was so cute, when I was trying to explain to him what it meant. Then I've been interviewed by I can't tell you how many different newspapers. All over this one crazy idea. [laughs] It's funny how things happen. It's been a blessing. It's been a blessing; I've had fun with it. Some Floridians took it too hard and were not real happy with me. I said if you can't laugh with the people, you know, come on! That's the way I look at life, you gotta laugh about things. They're laughing at Florida because of this, but you know, there is a reason for this happening in our little city here so. We may not know right now why, but some day I'm sure it will be revealed to us.

Black Power Republicans

At 7pm, the rally MC — a woman named Janet who described herself as a staffer at the Center for Reclaiming America — and said she was here today "as an individual voter, concerned about freedom", suggested that the crowd go home and watch results on CNN. Meanwhile, word spread among protesters that police would allow them to go up to the Emergency Operations Center, where Gore supporters were being interviewed, as long as they left their signs behind.

This resulted in several heated arguments in front of the EOC, culminating in one between Flori-Duh Man and an elderly Jewish man. Flori-Duh Man said, "This is Florida; this isn't New York! Go back to New York! Where you from? Where you originally from? You're from New York, aren't you? Long Island. Guess what, you live in Florida!" and so on. When the Jewish man turned to leave, Flori-Duh Man grabbed him by the shoulder, at which point the man turned around and said, "Touch me again, and I'll have you arrested."

Sheriffs moved in to begin clearing the crowd. Soon after, a man in a suit introduced himself to Bush supporters as a representative of Governor Bush and suggested they clear the area. Meanwhile, one black Bush supporter began shouting at departing TV camera crews, "The truth is here! Turn the lights back on! You can't stand the truth! Turn the camera back on!" Six black men, flanking him like a chorus, shouted "We want freedom! We don't want to be controlled or nothing! We are freedom! We represent freedom!"

The leader led a chant of "Latin, black and white....MUST UNITE!" for the cameras as sheriffs and Republican operatives herded people away. These black men claim responsibility for forcing Jesse Jackson off stage in West Palm Beach and are likely the ones referred to by Marlene Bastien, president of Haitian Women of Miami, for "giving out information saying that voting Democratic is like voting for the devil and the Ku Klux Klan."

The following is a transcript of conversation as we moved, and kept moving, away from the EOC. Willie Logan, referred to in the interview, was a black Democrat and the first African-American to be appointed speaker-designate in the Florida State House, before white Democrats unseated him in 1998. He has since campaigned as an Independent for the Senate nomination and has encouraged black Democrats to become "free agents," with a certain reconciliation to state Republicans.

Maurice, early 30s, black, Miami-Dade

White Woman: You are a passionate man.

White Man: You know what? You heard them guys telling the truth...Don't that make you sick? Definitely makes me sick. We don't want to hear no more of that stuff [about racism]. Tired of hearing that.

White Woman: Black and proud! Black and proud! Black and proud!

White Man: You got up there and you told the truth!

Maurice: Converted a lot of people.

White Man: I tell you the truth. I broke down and I couldn't take it. When I seen you guys run him [Jesse Jackson] outta here, I come up to you and I wanted to, I wanted to...

Maurice: God bless you, brother.

Chorus Member: Cuz we represent freedom!

White Man: Hey, we all love this country, don't we?

Maurice: That's right.

Chorus Member: For everybody.

Maurice: For everybody.

White Woman: Black and proud!

White Man: I can't stand nobody calling me a racist!

Maurice: The press won't play us on TV.

White Man: That's right, that's right, you got it, you got it! They wanna play their games...

Maurice: They are the racists. They wanna keep America divided.

White Woman: Jesse Jackson compared you to Jews, the Jewish people. You don't need to be compared with anybody cuz you are you, baby! And that is it — you don't compare to anybody!

Young Latina: Like what they did to the Cuban Americans...

White Woman: Right! And with the Mafia...

Maurice: They teach divisionism. Now we're here to bring back the union.

White Woman: Black and proud! Black and proud!

Maurice: The Republicans, that's the whole secret. Listen, if you can't figure that out, I don't know what to tell you. They don't want to show that on TV.

White Woman: They don't want to let you dream! They want to destroy their slaves!

Maurice: Am I being taped here?

BS: I was gonna ask. Can I?

Maurice: Yeah, it's okay. I just wanted to be sure I was.

BS: Why'd you all come out here today?

Maurice: We came out here to support, no, I'm sorry.

Man in Bush T-shirt: The Governor asked us to leave, Governor Bush asked us to move out.

White Man: [To me] So ease on out here with us. They'll talk to you — ease on out. We don't want them to show us in no bad light.

Maurice: Well, the Governor [unintelligible] he's not wanting us here.

Chorus Member: We represent freedom! We want to control our own taxes.

Maurice: He wants the troops to move out. [We walk away from the Center.]

BS: So you came out here to support?

Maurice: What we really wanted to show is that Black people are thinking good of the Republicans...Of course, Frederick Douglass, as you well know, is a black man who was a Republican. Harriet Tubman was a Republican. Booker T. Washington was a Republican, and you can go on and on from there. Once it was against the law to be a Democrat, after the Civil War. Now they need our vote; now they coming to us smiling and laughing in our face, like a wolf in sheep's clothing. That's what I call a murderer, because that's what a wolf does, they murder the sheep. The sheep are the people. No matter black and white, don't make a difference what color you are, because the Bible says Gen. 9:22-26 that Noah was the father of all men, which means we're all blood brothers. There's no difference between me and you.

Man in Bush T-shirt: They don't want us in there. Governor Bush doesn't want us in there...No, that was Governor Bush. The Governor Bush people are trying to get everybody out; they don't want to look bad; they don't want to get any arguments going in front of the camera, and what happens is one liberal will walk up and start causing trouble, and distract the whole press.... [unintelligible].

Maurice: So people got to realize that we are one. So in knowing that, remember the North was the Union. The word union means unity. The Confederates were those who seek to separate. They're the separationists. That's why they won't allow us, the press will not allow anybody black to speak up good for the Republicans.

BS: And were the Confederates Democrats?

Maurice: Of course.

BS: I don't know...

Maurice: You don't know the history? Yes, let me give you the history. Eighteen thirty-six: the Whig Party was formed. They were called the Democrats; they were all for slavery. Eighteen fifty-four: the Republicans was formed by abolitionists; those are people who wanted to free blacks. After the War, the Civil War, the Dixiecrats were formed. The Dixiecrats are the Democrats. They are the ones that desired that we remain in slavery. Black people have forgotten about that, because of the preachers and certain women who want to live for free off our tax dollars. And they teach us that the Republicans are for the rich and the Democrats are for the poor. When the facts are the Republicans was for the poor, because they're the ones that freed the poorest of the poor, which were the slaves. I am, we're here. I'm not supporting anything that had to do with affirmative action or all that. [Governor Jeb Bush attempted to eliminate affirmative action by executive order, which was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court.] All I want is equal rights: my right as a black man to do business with my brothers, whether he's Latin, black, or white. Makes no difference to me. I just want equal rights. I'm tired of being overtaxed. And that's what slavery is. Slavery is when you're paying anything over 10 percent in taxes, because God only requires 10 percent. So how in the world did they get the power, under the guise of helping the poor — and most of these people who are considered poor — nude nightclub dancers. They're making a killing. They're living in houses for free, at our expense, black and white. So they got black, white, and Latin men all in slavery, while they live for free. [A flyer Maurice hands me condemns "FREE GOVERNMENT HUD HOUSING."] And of course, Gore, with his higher taxes, he's only paying homage to those who helped train us to vote for the man that believes in us being in slavery. Because Gore himself donated money to the Confederate Rebel Association. And when the NAACP asked him why, he said it's only forty dollars! We don't want to hear that, you understand? If the Bible says in Matthew 6:21, wheresoever your treasure is, there is your heart also. So his money is with them; he's with them. His Dad was a segregationist Senator, Al Gore Sr., and he voted against the Civil Rights Bill. His granddaddy and his great-grand-daddy were all cotton farmer slavemasters from Tennessee, where of course, the KKK started in 1866, in Pulaski, Tennessee. So here are these Southern Dixiecrats, now coming to us for our vote, need our help. We're the brothers that run Jesse Jackson away from here. Cuz we don't want no more house Negroes coming here, teaching our people to go for the slavemaster. I, I can guarantee you: Jewish people are good. There are bad Jewish people, [but] there's good in everybody's races. But I can tell you, no good Jewish person would vote for any German that aspires to being a Nazi. Why? Cuz the Nazis murdered six millions of their people. Five hundred years from now, they won't do that. So how can Lieberman, being a Jew, ask me to vote for the Democrats who are the ones that were our slavemasters? He's hypocritical, and that's evil. He ought to be ashamed of himself. He requires us to do things he wouldn't do. And he wants our vote. So what I'm saying to our black people is that it's time out for all of that. We got to unite with our black, Latin, and white, Chinese, Haitian, Bahamian, Jamaican — all brothers got to unite under the Union. I'm not saying that's perfect. The Dixiecrats are the bottom of the barrel to me. Republicans are at least a step up on Jacob's Ladder, towards heaven. I'm really for theocracy, rulership by God.

BS: Hmm. Okay.

Maurice: But I want to take a step up. I'm not gonna take a step back down to H-E-L-L. You understand? So that's where we're at. So you got a bunch of us guys who know the truth now and we're here to defend it. Just like back in the days of slavery, the black Negro that was in the house with the master didn't want us to fight for freedom. But we went and fought anyway. They hated us back then; they hate us now. Cuz this represents, right now we're going through a Civil War to straighten out party lines. Right across the Mason-Dixon Line. On this side is the Confederates; on this side is the Union, the North. And of course, the Union, I mean, the South thought they were powerful cuz they were the gunslingers. The Union was supposed to be little homeboys. But when the Union all of a sudden had to face their ex-slaves, that's when the tides turned. Well, here we are. Here we are! That's why the tide is turning now. Because they know that two years from now, we're gonna make sure anybody that aspires to being a Democrat will not make it into office because we're gonna teach our people the history. They're gonna have to come up with another name for a party.

BS: You know anything about this black Democrat Willie Logan, who was gonna be Speaker of the House...

Maurice: No, he's not a Democrat. He was an Independent. I know him. But he was a Democrat at one point, and then the Democrats....He might have been, but I know right now he's an Independent, which means he might have had a change of mind. Everybody has the right to repent. I'm not gonna say anything bad about him, but I can tell you, I'm definitely against what Jesse Jackson tried to do, come down here, and get us to help and promote and get together with the Dixiecrats. I'm not gonna support that. I'm not gonna support the Reverend Al Sharpton coming down here. [Sharpton appeared at the EOC on Sunday, where protesters shouted, "You and your people aren't welcome here." Sharpton's National Action Network was the first organization to file suit claiming the disenfranchisement of black voters under the 1965 Voting Rights Act.] They don't know the Bible. If I get into a Bible conversation with them, they'd be lost, cuz I know the Bible. They don't even know the Bible, calling themselves reverend. How could you be a Reverend and teach your people to go back to the slavemaster? That's totally insane. Nobody on the planet Earth would do that. I guarantee you no other nation of people would go and support the person that oppressed them. You know what? My white brothers are my blood brothers, because Acts 17:26 says all nations are one blood. I will support and work with anybody white,

White Man: You ain't the only brothers.

Maurice: Yes sir.

White Man: You ain't the only brothers.

Maurice: Yes sir.

White Man: We're all brothers.

Maurice: We're all brothers, cuz that's what the Bible says, that God said

White Man: And that's the way it used to be, when I said brother, it didn't mean a black guy.

Maurice and Chorus: Right.

Maurice: Cuz all of us are brothers.

Everyone: That's right.

Maurice: My thing is, since we're all brothers, I'm not gonna support anybody white, I don't care if he's Black, but if he aspires to being a Dixiecrat, he's outta here. I'm not gonna help him, Black or white. Period. It ain't about skin color. They trying to play the race card. What we're doing, we're here to kill the race card. It's all about us unifying under God; that's the whole secret. So you tell Al Gore, you know, you played hard, it was a good [smacks his fist], but you playing basketball. You see, it's not 4 out of 7. This is the Super Bowl: the game is over; you lost. The game is over. Love ya. [Turns and walks away]

Aaron Shuman is a Bad Subjects editor and freelance writer still hoping for a senior appointment in a Gore administration.

Copyright © 2001 by Aaron Shuman. All rights reserved.