Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Mom I'm Here In Texas

We stopped canvassing at sundown in this poor all white rural area of Texas. It not worth getting shot at or bitten by someone’s pit-bull even though we are pretty determined to mine every Obama vote we can from East Texas. Me and my canvassing partner have spent the last three days in the poor run down and often depressing neighborhoods here working for the Obama campaign. There is a certain ugliness and beauty to it all.

The first couple of days we did work in the poor black neighborhoods of Silsbee, Texas and then it was the poor white neighborhood's turn yesterday. They have much in common when it comes to poverty and ignorance. The political opinions you hear when you get to talk to these people are surprising, especially in the white areas. Many are dirt poor but still support Bush and his policies. Why they would vote for someone who doesn’t really represent their interest repeatedly amazed me. It seems to boil down to a warped and mixed up form of patriotism and religion.

Once you weather the front yards filled with broken down vehicles, garbage and snarling dogs who are hopefully tie up on a chain. These people seem baffled to see you there at all. They talk about how Obama refuses to sing the national anthem or wear a flag pin in his lapel but not about how it appears that they being screwed by a Republican government that exploits them on a daily basis. They babble about the “fact” that he’s a Muslim and all that, but are not quite sure of what is fact and what is fiction. Passing the false storyline from person to person on down the line.

“There just repeating what the preacher tells them on Sunday”, one Obama supporter told me. It would seem when you talk to these people in the poor white areas the world revolves around gun rights, flag pins, Muslims terrorist infiltrating America and what it means to be good Christians living in the bible belt. It’s like they think the rest of the world is a bunch of godless sinners. “Lots of people believe in god no matter where you live”, I told one fellow, "but up north we don’t think it’s polite to mix it with your politics or wear it on your sleeve."

Then we moved north to Center, Texas where today we will be doing some phone banks to get out the vote and then poll and caucus monitoring tonight. The sad thing is I won’t get to watch the returns tonight because I have a 300 mile drive to Dallas to catch a morning flight home to Seattle tomorrow.

Yes we can!

The opinions and observations made in this story are my own and have not been approved or sanctioned by the Obama campaign.

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