Published on Monday, December 6, 2004 by the St.Paul Pioneer Press
Clear Signs People Aren't Over the Election
by Bill Salisbury
Most political lawn signs come down right after an election. But this year a few die-hard partisans in the east metro area still have signs in their yards.
Almost all the remaining signs belong to supporters of the Democratic ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards. And the vast majority of those posters can be found in St. Paul and Minneapolis. Political posters are now a rarity in the suburbs.
The election is over, so why can't those Kerry-Edwards supporters acknowledge their candidates lost and move on?
"I'm protesting the election and George Bush's presidency for the next four years," Kay Olson Roskaft said of the Kerry-Edwards sign in her yard on the 1900 block of Randolph Avenue in St. Paul.
"He doesn't realize his policies in Iraq aren't working, and he doesn't acknowledge his mistakes," said Roskaft, a pet nanny. "He thinks he's the Messiah, and he only listens to the Christian right, not to reasonable Christians. I think he's leading the country down the path to doom."
On the other side of the political fence, University of St. Thomas sophomore Erik Koob has one of the few remaining Bush-Cheney signs in St. Paul, but it's probably the biggest one. His poster covers three second-story windows on the house he and his college roommates rent on the 100 block of Cretin Avenue South.
Koob, a political science major, said the sign is still up because he hasn't had time to take it down. But he's also making a statement.
The neighborhood is filled with Democrats, he said, "and I'm letting them know who is president for the next four years … and I'm letting them know that I'm here, too."
He enthusiastically supports Bush, he said, "because he's the strong leader we need in these times."
The Democrats with Kerry-Edwards signs in their yards should get over it, he said. "This is a democracy, and America has spoken."
But on the 600 block of St. Paul's Lincoln Avenue, Marilyn Wall Jelinek said she's keeping a Kerry-Edwards sign in her front yard because "I'm unable to drop it. It doesn't feel like it's over or it's time to put it away." She intends to leave it up until she decides "where to go from here."
Like Roskaft, Jelinek, a filmmaker, believes the war in Iraq is a terrible mistake that's breeding more international terrorists. She also believes Bush and his conservative Christian supporters have "changed American politics to the point where it's beginning to feel like a theocracy, rather than a democracy."
Her poster bears Edward's campaign slogan — "Hope is on the way" — and she said that message gives her some solace.
A couple of blocks west on Lincoln Avenue, peace activist Judy Miller said her Kerry-Edwards sign is "going to be there forever. I'm so mad that Kerry isn't our president and Bush is back in."
Motivated by opposition to the war in Iraq, Miller said she and her children worked hard on the Democratic campaign, "and we have nothing to show for it." The sign is her statement of protest, she said.
Not all the partisans with Kerry-Edwards signs are so passionate. Paul Ogren said the poster in his yard on the 500 block of Brimhall Street remains there "partly out of inertia." He plans to remove it before more snow flies.
But it's "partly intentional," said Ogren, a computer programmer. His wife, professional musician Jena Ogren, said the sign is their way of expressing their disbelief in the outcome of the election.
© 2004 the St. Paul Pioneer Press