With a few laughs, ‘Kerry-van’ tries to draw last-minute votes
With bumper stickers such as “Somewhere in Texas a village is missing its idiot,” “John Kerry – Bringing complete sentences back to the White House,” and “More trees, less Bush,” a caravan of Kerry supporters journeyed from Aspen to Rifle on Saturday to spread their word.Organized by Kerry Helpers Sarah Murray and Sue Coyle, the “Kerry-van” made stops in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs as part of a final campaign push.”It was just an idea I had, to have a sort of pep rally and energize people,” said Coyle, wearing a shirt that read “Every time you vote Republican, God kills a kitten.”Murray said aside from showing support for Kerry, the caravan was designed to inject some humor into what has been an otherwise dead-serious campaign. “It was important for us to not just have fun, but to look like we were having fun,” Murray said. “We were hoping that positive energy would rub off on the undecided.”That comic relief arrived almost immediately when a car with a “W ’04” sticker somehow became intermingled with the “Kerry-van” as it left Aspen.
“That happened a lot,” Murray said. “People would be really impatient and they would pass us and get stuck. It was pretty funny. It was just a logical natural consequence.”As the caravan meandered downvalley, more participants joined in, and by the time it reached Rifle, Murray said there were at least 15 cars.”We had so many people on the highway honking and waving, and giving us the thumbs up,” Murray said. “We got lots of support, it was really amazing.”As the caravan left Aspen, Coyle said she felt the biggest challenge was waiting in Rifle, which is predominantly Republican.”It’s more challenging, but unlike Tony Hershey I’m not afraid of people throwing rocks at us,” she said, referring to Hershey’s comments in the Times last week.When asked if the Republicans had anything planned for the weekend, Hershey, chairman of Pitkin County for Bush, replied, “We don’t get to party like Democrats. I mean this is Pitkin County. We could have rallies, but who would show up?”I don’t want to get rocks thrown at me. I’m even afraid to have a ‘W’ sticker on my car.”
Silt resident Deborah Davis, who was part of the caravan, said she was anticipating some indifference near Rifle, if not resentment, as they neared their final destination.”Where I live, I’m the only one with any [political] yard sign,” she said.Davis and her friends were toting a life-sized cardboard cutout of President Bush, wearing a Kerry-Edwards shirt, of course, which was protruding through their car’s sunroof.But Murray said the greeting was actually positive.”I didn’t see anyone doing anything negative,” she said. “We saw so many people giving us lots of positive feedback, which is amazing.”She added that in both Rifle and Glenwood Springs, other Kerry supporters were out on the roadways and bridges waving signs at passing drivers.In Glenwood Springs, a man dressed like Uncle Sam and displaying a huge sign that read “Republicans for Kerry” joined the caravan.
“It was pretty funny,” Murray said.She added that she didn’t see any Bush supporters between Aspen and Rifle, other than the occasional W bumper sticker.”I’ve been working on this campaign for a month now full time, and I’ve loved getting to know people in this community who are willing to come out and work hard,” she said. “But it was nice that they were willing to come out and have fun, too.”Steve Benson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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Looking for alternative to I-70 closures, truckers are ignoring numerous warning signs to attempt the narrow, treacherous road that goes over Independence Pass east of Aspen.