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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Voting Democratic, With Love

A couple of notes, from the recent elections, in the Piedmont of Virginia:  

In this heavily rural area, the county where I live is, on the electoral map, almost always a lone little island of blue in a sea of Republican red, and that is interesting, since the population here is predominantly "white" by much the same large margins as in all the surrounding counties.   My theory is that this is because I, a transplant from always Democratic D.C., am here.   But there is also the fact that a lot of the so-called "white" folk here still fondly remember FDR and the New Deal days, as well as other government assistance, since economic conditions here have never been the best.  (And in 1969 Hurricane Camille hit this county with special ferocity, taking over 100 lives).  Furthermore,  this county has been unusually tolerant to the influx of a number of "come-heres" from other states -- hippies, back-to-the-landers, refugees from blighted New Jersey decades before Sandy, and others of that sort of the progressive inclination -- as contrasted to the "been heres."

A Democratic official who worked in the campaign office where my wife manned the phones, etc., also worked in an adjoining county which also had an Obama office, and to my surprise that county also went Democratic.   I had lumped that place in with all the adjoining red counties, especially because one of the state prisons is there.  But this director said that when they heard that there was such an office, so-called "black" people kept trooping in there bringing the campaign workers all kinds of food and helping in other ways.  They wanted to do all they could for the man they fondly called their "boy."   Most were quite elderly, which means that they, like me, had a lot of things to remember, and so my county this time had company amongst the blue, and that also included the much larger and more affluent county just to the north of here and that is home to the University of Virginia and various other intellectual industries.

(If you want to know, I try hard to avoid using those stark and stupid terms, "black" and "white," when applied to people.   I believe in the precise use of language, and in all my years I have never seen anyone the color of the inside of a stovepipe or of the newly fallen snow.   Even worse, those terms imply that the two groups are exact opposites, when actually nothing could be farther from the truth.   Having had the unusual privilege of having lived one half of my life in an almost completely "black" world and now the other half in a largely "white" one, I think I can say without any fear of refutation that man for man and woman for woman, the two groups are identical in all the ways that matter most, and that applies especially to a measurement much more important than the often cited intelligence quotients: their slob IQ's.

A second note: A lady friend of ours volunteered to drive to the polls anyone who needed a lift.   By election day, however, almost everyone on the somewhat long list that she was given had already gotten some transportation, save for an 85-year old "black" lady who was confined at home.

Our friend helped this lady get into the voting building and then to the voting table, for marking the paper ballots.   The elderly lady told our friend that, in addition to her other infirmities, she also couldn't see too good, and she asked to be shown where she could be sure of marking the name of her "boy."

When that was done, the old lady was not yet through.   She pointed her finger emphatically at the rest of the ballot and said, "Okay, honey.   Now show me the people that are going to help my boy."


Anonymous karmanot said...

This is a great story---- the kind of which the true stories of history are composed. My first exposure to 'black' folks was as a young teenager, raised in a suburban community which was all 'white.' Over Spring break, a group of us drove down south in the early sixties. What I saw there: Louisianan, Mississippi, changed my life forever and began a lifelong involvement as an advocate for civil rights across the board. As a graduate student years later I lived in an all 'black' neighborhood and made friends with a ninety-two year old gentleman, who, as a boy worked on the Erie railroad gang as a driver. He was the friend of a lifetime and from him I learned about an American history not taught in books. peace, M

2:36 PM  

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