(WARNING: SATIRE! MAYBE!)
Wheeling, West Virginia
The recent Republican nomination of disgraced former Alabama State Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore has sent shockwaves among political circles. Accused of sexual misconduct by, as of this writing, five women when they were teenagers and Moore was a prosecutor in his 30s, questions have been raised as to what is acceptable behavior, or forgivable trespasses, for American office holders.
However the organization responsible for raising and lowering the bar for the GOP has drawn a hard line and said, “Enough’s enough” following that up with a threat of a strike should the bar drop further.
“Look, I’ll be honest; sometimes the bar needs to be lowered. If it’s been raised too high it can lead to issues. But with the Republican Party, specifically in the past ten years, it’s just been lowered, and lowered again,” said Rudy Wachowski, President of the International Association of Societal Bar Adjusters.
I went out to the site where the official GOP bar, along with the Democrats’, was housed. Just outside the town of Wheeling, West Virginia, the "Federal Site of Election Monitoring and Standards” is simply referred to as “The Hole” by the locals.
“Every time I get the call, I think ‘Okay. This is it. It’s not gonna go any lower’,” said Sam “Smitty” Smithson, Lead Bar Adjuster - Master Status.
“Thought that when this whole Birther crap kicked off in '09. Thought it again when the GOP tried to repeal Obamacare more times than I got years on the job. Thought it again when Trump got the GOP nomination, and then again when he won the Electoral College. Now we got people destroying Keurigs because they pulled their advertisements from Sean Hannity’s show. Over a guy who was banned from a mall for trolling for underage girls,” “Smitty” said as he shook his head.
“We lower this damn thing anymore we’re gonna be in necrophilic cannibal territory. For the safety of my crew, and the general public, we get any more calls to descend, we’re walkin’. That’s it.”
In order to get to the GOP bar, Mr. Wachowski took me to a elevator that descended deep into the earth. “This used to be a nickel mine. It was particularly deep. Ten years ago we didn’t think we’d have to descend past the 1/4th mark. A month ago we had to bring in deep diggers to make room cause we hit the floor when Trump referred to Nazis in Charlottesville as ‘very fine people’.”
As we descended, we passed by previous levels where the bar once rested. Deep gouges, wounds in the earth, stood in silent testament as mile markers in the murk. After we’d traveled for some time, Mr. Wachowski pointed to groves in the rock that had diapered teddy bears wedged in them.
“Bar Jacks call this Vitter’s Point. That’s when David Vitter, the former Republican Senator from Louisiana, got caught hiring pros, sex workers, back in ’07. He wasn’t forced from office. Used to be the half way point but that’s a little further down now,” said Rudy before he chuckled. “Shit seems quaint by comparison. Hell, technically all the participants in that one were consenting adults.”
As the platform lowered us, the air grew colder, and some how heavier, more oppressive. As we got closer to the bottom, Mr. Wachowski handed me a .44 Magnum revolver. “First five shots are silver. Last is regular. That’s for you. If you can’t kill it in five at this depth, use the last for yourself. Don’t let it take you.”
“Let what take me?” I said having second thoughts about even getting off the platform.
“Trumpers, Info Wars Subscribers, and other lower forms of demonic beings all dwell down here,” Mr. Wachowski said.
We stepped off the platform and made our way in stygian blackness, the light of Mr. Wachowski's hard hat struggled against being snuffed out. At the edge of my hearing, haunting whispers scratched my hearing. “Lock her up.” “Take my country back.” “Her E-mails.” “Thanks Obama.”
I turned, frantically pointing my pistol. I called out into the blackness, “Who’s there?! Where… Where’s your evidence?” A pair of fire coaled eyes opened in the darkness and moved toward me. Just as I raised my weapon I was yanked into a small foreman’s office.
“Told ya to stick close to me!” Mr. Wachowski chastised me after he slammed the door shut. We heard a howl/cry just beyond the door. “Snowflaaaaakkeeeesss!”
The monitoring station was a small affair, a concrete box with read out consoles, a hot plate, mini-fridge, a small heater, and a toilet that mercifully had a door. Unlike other bars, the GOP's had to be monitored around the clock otherwise it might be thrown out altogether.
After taking a minute to collect myself, I walked over to a panel to glance at the read outs. I was told in no uncertain terms to not “fiddle” with anything by "Smitty", the Lead Bar Adjuster on duty. After my chiding, I asked “Smitty” what challenges the union faced in lowering the GOP bar even more.
“See, there’s a balance.” “Smitty” said as he propped up his boots on the console and leaned back in his chair. “While the GOP bar ain’t all of society, it affects all the other bars, even if just in comparison. So while the Democrats’ bar is about a mile up that also gives them a mile to play with.”
“Have you lowered the Democrats’ bar?” I queried as I peered out the small reinforced glass portal on the door.
“It goes up and down, but typically stays in relatively the same place. We call it Milk Toast Caverns. Don’t really take it from there. Just kind of move it around a bit. Though there were plans to raise it outta the cavern completely in ’08 and ’09. Never came about, though. Shame.”
The small, overhead office light cast an eerie, almost noir like shadows across Smitty’s face. “This has to be it Mr. Poag. Can’t go any lower than this. Not for ability mind you. We have the capability. And someone will do it if no one puts a stop to it. But I’ll tell ya’ll, I won’t be the one to lower it. And neither will my crew. I gotta sleep somehow.”
I walked to the platform as fast as I could even though at times I wanted to crawl on my hands and knees. An unconscious flight instinct to make myself smaller.
It wasn’t until we passed Vitter’s Point that my heart crawled back down out of my throat. I thanked Mr. Wachowski for his time. I quickly walked to my car and headed away from “The Hole” as fast as my ’92 Nissan Stanza would drive, which is five miles below any posted speed limit.
Update: Due to the revelation that a robo-caller is attempting to discredit the Washington Post by masquerading as fictitious reporter "Bernie Bernstein" by offering money for dirt on Roy Moore, as of tomorrow, starting with the AM shift at 0800, the union voted 547 to 61 in favor of striking.