Vandalism, Voter Intimidaton, and Violence? Please Don’t Bring It.

I don’t want to sound alarmist, but I’m growing increasingly concerned about what might happen on election day in Texas.

Here’s what happened to my bumper magnet while my car was parked at the golf course today:

The golf course, by the way, is a public course. I’m sure the mad stickerer was just driving by, though, and not availing him or herself of this public resource. Because that can lead to government dependency, as Paul Ryan knows.

Anyway … my car’s fine, and I made a donation to Obama plus one to Ann Johnson for good measure to channel my aggravation in a constructive way.

You can talk to just about any Democrat in Houston to hear a story about someone’s Obama sign being defaced or stolen. The fantastic mural at the Breakfast Klub was vandalized; I hope the new one escapes unharmed.

It gets a little more serious than sign vandalism (which is, however petty, an actual crime).

Texas will probably be getting poll watchers from the  Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, a well-regarded coalition in which the United States participates. Our Attorney General, trying to out-cowboy Rick Perry, I suppose, has come out forcefully challenging their right to observe our elections, sounding like a sheriff warning the bad guy to make sure the sun doesn’t set on him, firing off letters while firing off his trigger Twitter finger:

On Thursday, Abbott tweeted “BRING IT” after another OSCE ambassador wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling Abbott’s warnings of arrest “unacceptable.”

Really? Bring it? What, exactly, does this contribute to meaningful political discourse?

Oh, silly me, assuming that the state’s attorney general has any obligation or incentive to contribute meaningfully to political discourse.

What has me worried is that these are adults. Adults behaving very badly. In most of the sign-stealing stories I’ve heard, the culprits have NOT been teenagers, but retired adults, caught and confirmed on video in at least once instance. Grown folks.

I think it is safe to assume that whoever drive-by-stickered my car has done it to others. I mean, if you have just one bumper sticker, you put it on your own car, rather than driving around looking to stick it somewhere it’ll be peeled off. Yes, I’m alleging it—there’s at least one malcontent driving around Houston with a stack of stickers and intent to vandalize.

The thing is, you know what else too many people in Houston are driving around with? Guns.

In August, the county judge in Lubbock County outlined just how he’d prepare to defend his fair town when the United Nations forces show up:

He said he was expecting civil unrest if President Obama is re-elected, and that the president would send United Nations forces into Lubbock, population 233,740, to stop any uprising.

“He is going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N.,” Mr. Head said on Fox 34 last week. “O.K., what’s going to happen when that happens? I’m thinking worst-case scenario: civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war, maybe. And we’re not talking just a few riots here and demonstrations. We’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.”

And if the president did send in United Nations troops, Mr. Head continued, “I don’t want ’em in Lubbock County. O.K. So I’m going to stand in front of their armored personnel carriers and say, ‘You’re not coming in here.’ And the sheriff, I’ve already asked him. I said, ‘You gonna back me?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’ll back you.’

Mind you, this Republican elected official made these statements in the context of arguing for a tax increase to finance the hiring of more sheriff’s deputies. A cooler-headed Lubbock resident responded thus:

Ms. Rogers, 74, said after the hearing that she took matters further, placing a phone call to the Secret Service. “There is an element in this city that is so anti-Obama that I think they have lost grip a little bit on reality,” she said.

They may have lost their grip on reality, but you can bet they’re still holding on pretty tightly to their guns, and what does that mean for how things will shake out if the election is close? If observers show up and are challenged? If lines are long and tempers and tensions flare?

I hope we have a peaceful, democratic election day. We need to all work for that to happen.

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