Obama: the race question

Dateline: Tue 13 May 2008

Drove down to see the Colonel yesterday to pick up some money for the ducks.

The Colonel is Col. James Raney, who runs an auction house out in the woods a few miles back of Cloverdale, in the heart of east Put-man County. The ducks are plastic decoys purchased en masse at another Put-man auction house a couple years ago, in a foolish moment, then resold in part at the Colonel's Friday night shindig. Time to clear out the ducks. All several hundred of them.

The Colonel is no slouch. He's written a book on ginseng, (self published, $5), and he can build or sell almost anything. He showed me the little cabin he's putting up out in the back, behind the auction barn and not far from his own small log home. He calls the new place his "love shack." He's using sassafras logs and old windows he picked up somewhere, and so far he has invested $1.50. That's how folks out here live.

As I was leaving, he said, "Who you votin' for, girl? Obama?" (The Colonel and I go way back). I said sure, and asked him the same. "I guess Obama," he said. "I don't like Hillary, can't stand her. But I am worried about Obama getting elected.

"The boys I hang with," he continued, with my encoragement, "they say they like him, but I think when they get in that voting booth, they won't pull it for him. They'll go for McCain." That's somewhat understandable, as rural Indiana is red and redneck, and McCain stands for God, honor and country (and what got us into the war).

But what is the problem with Obama, I said, although I feared I knew the answer. He looked down.

"Is it the race?" I asked.

"Yep."

I gave my usual arguments, although I hoped and trusted the Colonel was already hip: Obama is a person of high character and accomplishments, he comes from nothing, he embodies the American Dream, he can cross party lines, (unlike Hillary, who has enemies on both sides), he's the change agent. The Colonel indicated he was solid with all that. He just wasn't sure he could convince his posse.

So we parted, on a rather gloomy note.

Then I remembered that the Obama sign I put up on U.S. 40 near Manhattan (my home place) didn't last a day. Just like my "Stop the I-69" madness sign, placed on my own property for God's sake, the Obama sign also offended some good old somebody enough that he/she stopped the pick-up and removed it. Period. End of story.

We all need to start talking about this, especially those of us who live in the Heartland which seems to be the heart of the problem. The Washington Post finally is, with a story today, "Racist Incidents Give Some Obama Campaigners Pause." I hate to report that some of the "incidents" took place in Indiana. But I am not surprised.

Let's not hide this under cover. Obama supporters and Dems in general, and Republicans too, need to confront their own racist fears and prejudices as well as those of friends and acquaintances. The country may have come far, but not far enough in every corner. Time for those of us who see a bigger vision to speak out.

Here's the link to the Post story, picked up on Drudge this a.m.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/12/AR2008051203014_pf.html

Read it, and then let everyone know: we will stand up to racial attacks, no matter how subtle. Let there be no tolerance in this great nation for intolerance.

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