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Post-Election Journey Was Far From Kansas
Published on Friday, December 15, 2000 in the St Paul Pioneer Press
Post-Election Journey Was Far From Kansas
by Lynnell Mickelsen
 
I'm just your average Minnesotan who voted for Al Gore. My name isn't Dorothy, but somehow I wandered into this movie.

The tornado touched down the day after the election and suddenly the whole house was spinning, spinning, spinning through the air, until we crashed in this strange place. Lots of color. Palm trees.

We met a witch -- whether she's good or bad seems to depend on who's watching the movie. She said we almost killed the governor from Texas and demanded our surrender. She even certified it.

But we said we first had to count all the ballots, which in a normal place is a pretty straightforward job. But nothing was normal about this place -- which turns out to be run by the brother of the governor we almost killed.

Flying monkeys showed up at the Miami-Dade canvassing board. Various Munchkins made endless speeches; they called themselves legislators.

Meanwhile, there were blustering troops of people, carrying reporter notepads, marching around singing, ``Oh Ye Oh.'' We started to count the ballots. But just as the hour-glass was running, some lawyers insisted they had to count slower and slower, that it was all so complicated they needed new standards but the standards couldn't be new.

It was as if poppies, poppies, Poppy and all the Bushies would have us put to sleep. It started to snow. By now it's December.

So we made the long journey to the Emerald City to see the Wizards, the Great and Powerful. They remanded us back. But when we returned again, the plot seemed eerily preordained and then Toto (David Boies in this movie) ran ahead and pulled back the crimson curtain.

There was Justice Antonin Scalia, huffing and puffing that counting the votes could cause, ahem, irreparable harm, because it might, ahem (pull those fire and smoke levers) threaten the legitimacy of (more smoke and fire) . . . his candidate. And pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

By then we could see that they weren't really wizards at all, just small, starched people in robes. It was depressing. We had come all this way for wisdom or magic, only to learn we'd have to find our own way home.

The Good Witch never did show up. Sandra Day O'Connor apparently didn't want the role.

When I finally woke up, I was back home in Minnesota. The tornado had passed. Normal, daily life returned. Except now my vision seems different.

Maybe that's what happens when you get smacked on the head with how your country really works and it's not exactly a noble, uplifting democracy. Or when you catch a glimpse of the man behind the curtain.

I wasn't the only extra in this movie. Millions went to Oz and were changed by the journey. It's too early to speculate on the sequel. But if I were on the Supreme Court or in the new Bush administration, I'd worry.

Lynnell Mickelsen is a writer in Minneapolis.

© 2000 PioneerPlanet / St. Paul (Minnesota) Pioneer Press

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