Omdahl: Lady Stands Up To Homeland Chauvinists
“Why are we meeting again this winter?” demanded Orville Jordan as he charged through the door and pounded his pipe on the table in front of Ork Dorken, chairperson of the Community Homeland Security Committee.
“Hey! Don’t lay this on me,” Ork responded defensively. “Madeleine Morgan insisted that we meet for an important issue that couldn’t wait until spring.”
The town’s other 12 electors trickled into the cavernous Bohemian Hall, led by Madeleine brandishing a sheaf of papers.
As chairs scraped and screeched on the hardwood floor, Madeleine stood impatiently until all of the town folks settled into seats to their liking.
“Okay, Madeleine, let’s hear it so we can go home,” Ork stated with frosty hostility.
“Women are meeting around the state to recruit candidates for the legislature and I’ve decided to be one of them,” Madeleine announced as she waved her papers. “And I’ve got the petitions for you to sign to get me on the ballot.”
A quiet shock settled over the astonished electors as they collected the thoughts that were scattered by the abrupt announcement. They weren’t ready for this sort of drama on a cold day in February.
“You can’t run,” barked Old Sievert from his stuffed chair in the corner. It had lost some stuffing through the years but it was still better than the metal folding chairs when the temperature was zero. His dad once told him he could get hemorrhoids from sitting on cold metal objects.
“What do you mean I can’t run?” Madeleine barked back. It was obvious she was not backing down.
“Well, you got to be qualified,” explained Holger Danske.
“I’ve been in the state 11 years, in the county 11 years and in the precinct 11 years and I’m older than 18 years. What else is there? Don’t I have the right color eyes? Am I too short? Am I too fat?”
Einar Stamstead groped helplessly for a counterpoint. “Well, you got to have experience, like government office or community committees.”
“I was a constable in Sidney, Montana for six years,” she explained.
“Did you shoot anybody?” asked Garvey Erfald, the chief warning officer. “That would be experience.”
“Do they shoot people in the North Dakota legislature?” she retorted.
“Well, no, maybe they should, but what you did in Montana doesn’t count in North Dakota,” reasoned Holger.
“I know manure when I see manure,” she bristled. “You don’t think I should run for the legislature because I’m a woman and a woman’s place is in the kitchen,”
“It’s a man’s game,” stammered Einar. “A lot of unwomanly smearing goes on in politics.”
“Well, I can smear as good as any man. Women get things done; men just snort and paw dirt. If elected, women can change the game we’ll make it a women’s game, so there.”
“This is a new kind of terrorism,” Chief Warning Officer Garvey Erfald whispered to Einar. “Maybe I should run up the red warning flag.”
“Are you going to be cowboy conservative or lefty liberal?” queried Holger.
“I’m running as an independent. I’ll be conservative when I should be conservative and I’ll be liberal when I should be liberal,” she answered.
That baffled them. It seemed like a parable or something. The Apostle Paul said stuff like that.
“I’ll sign that nominating petition,” announced Little Jimmy, the town scholar enrolled in college on the Internet. Having the only computer in town, he was considered a real pioneer.
“What the hell!” exclaimed Josh. “What have we got to lose? I’ll sign, too.”
Resistance collapsed under the social pressure. Everyone lined up to sign the petition.
Gertie Danske applauded as they streamed out the door.
“It just takes guts,” she muttered to herself. “They’re all pussycats.”
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