Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A look back

Six years ago today, the front page of the New York Times looked like this. An historic day, and not at all unexpected. Candidate Obama swept through the country with charm and confidence and charisma.

The next day, I'm guessing, sales of Confederate flags and bumper stickers and license plates rose dramatically. I live in southern West Virginia and, until the 2008 election, I'd never seen a Confederate flag flying in someone's yard. Or if I had, I'd never noticed.

Electing our first black President changed America's character, and not for the better.

I had hopes. It certainly seemed like racism was on the decline, especially when considered from the perspective of one who grew up in the '60s. So much had changed in 50 years. Surely we were so over bigotry.

But we weren't. And we aren't. And despite all the good President Obama has done, all the improvements in job numbers and deficit reduction and consumer confidence, every major candidate in every major race used him. Democrats distanced themselves from him and Republicans tied Democrats to him.

You might remember that I was asked to make a commercial for my Congressman last spring. It never ran. In it, I thanked my Congressman for fighting for affordable health insurance. But because the ACA was President Obama's signature legislation, that ad wasn't going to air on any TV stations here in West Virginia.

When West Virginia Democratic candidates turned their backs on the President, they did so because too many voters here hate him. Pretty strong language, but it's true. And it's sad. He's done his best to make all our lives better, but far too many can't get past his skin color.

In the 2012 primary, 10 West Virginia counties chose a convicted, incarcerated felon over the incumbent President as their candidate for the top job. In the fall election, West Virginia had the lowest voter turnout in the entire country.

That's not something to brag about.

Today's Election Day. In the mid-term contest four years ago, the Koch Brothers-backed Tea Party made quite a splash. This is our year to shut them out.

Vote for Democrats. Please and thank you.

1 comment:

gingerzingi said...

We're living in very strange times. One the one hand we've almost got marriage equality, and we've got recreational marijuana use in four states. On the other, racism and misogyny seem to be making a comeback.

I keep reading that these are the last gasps of the GOP, that the party has become almost extinct due to its irrelevance, particularly to millennials. But that does absolutely no good at all unless they vote, and it's not happening fast enough. How many lives have to be affected before this change happens?

Yes, I'm feeling frustrated and depressed today. It could be worse, but that's not much comfort...