Saturday, May 24, 2008

Obama's Uphill Battle

First off, I'm not promoting any one candidate over another. There are things I like about a couple of them, and really liked one of the guys who bowed out a few months back. But I do believe in a fair fight, and from the looks of signs like this one that pop up at many campaign rallys, it seems we still have a long way to go in our country.

In my home state of Kentucky, I was not surprised in the least that Clinton crushed Obama in the recent primary. Outside of a few larger areas (Lexington, Louisville), its easy to live a "diversity-free" existence. I spent the first 21-ish years of my life in one of 2 towns in KY, and the only person(s) of color I knew during that time were exchange students from Zimbabwe during college.

I've heard lots of stories from the past. One such story happened in 1919, when all of the blacks in my home town were gathered up, placed on a train, and shipped out of town. Somewhere out there is a documentary about this event. But many years later in the mid-80's, the effects of that event were still evident. There were no blacks in or around our town. None. I know, there are lots of possible reasons for that. It wasn't exactly an area that lots of people were looking to move into in the first place. In fact, a lot of us were hoping to spread our wings and fly somewhere else (and many of my friends did). But I think there was a general vibe that those of color were not welcome. I never heard it said, or saw it in action. But I did hear comments. Stories that made me scratch my head and wonder what's wrong with people.

So I'm not surprised Obama had a poor showing in Kentucky. I don't think my experience is different from most of the state. I just thought we were closer to moving past that. Voting (or not voting) for someone because of their politics is one thing. Because of their skin color (or gender, for that matter) is quite another.

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