Spent last night in a heckling crowd gathered at the Student Union Ballroom on U of A campus. Three Congressional candidates debated at 7pm, but crowds started to gather at 4pm with signs, paint, white balloons and glib phrases like, "GO GABBY GO!" and "NO GABBY NO!" and "GO JESSE GO!" and "NO JESSE NO!"
At 6pm the floodgates opened and angry republicans, spitting democrats and humored libertarians (and everything in between) filed into cushioned seats. At 7pm a one-hour debate commenced, interspersed with conservative zealots shouting "LIAAAAR!" (Princess Bride, style) during Giffords' (D.) arguments and contagious laughter during Stoltz's long pauses and inaccurate references to the Constitution. Jesse Kelly got some big whoops when he said he wanted to do-away with "all public education" and make it illegal for rape-victims to have abortions.
At the very end of the evening, Jesse Kelly (R.) told the crowd during his closing statements that he was just a "regular guy" and "nothing special" -- he said he was going to restore honor and loyalty the state of Arizona. (I'm not quite sure what that means.) The guy behind me must have known though, because he started screaming, guttural-style, into the back of my head: "YEAAAH! YEAAAH! YEAAAH!"
You can read Jesse's commanding, 12-sentence biography here.
After all the shouting matches and verbal audience attacks I really got to wondering when citizen-respect for Congressmen and women started to erode. And all too soon after 1070, I feel totally embarrassed to be from Arizona.
P.S. If Giffords loses, I'm hibernating until I turn 27.