On the Road in John Murtha’s “Racist” Western PA

(8 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

You might have heard that this week Rep. John Murtha talked about the racism in his Western Pennsylvania district and that it would likely cost Obama about 4 percentage points in the election.

As fate would have it, Sean Quinn is in Western PA this week with his On the Road series and files a very interesting report. Here’s how it starts:

So a canvasser goes to a woman’s door in Washington, Pennsylvania. Knocks. Woman answers. Knocker asks who she’s planning to vote for. She isn’t sure, has to ask her husband who she’s voting for. Husband is off in another room watching some game. Canvasser hears him yell back, “We’re votin’ for the n***er!”

Woman turns back to canvasser, and says brightly and matter of factly: “We’re voting for the n***er.”

In this economy, racism is officially a luxury. How is John McCain going to win if he can’t win those voters?

Pretty amazing story, isn’t it? The confluence of racism and sexism in that small interchange boggles my mind. I begin to wonder if any of us or anyone in the MSM really know what’s going on this time around.

The one thing we DO know, as I talked about in my last essay, is that the Obama campaign has put together a massive ground game in the battleground states that is nothing like anything this country has ever seen before. Here’s a bit about what Quinn reports they have accomplished in this area of the country.

In Washington County, a bellwether in this traditional swing state that John Kerry carried by a mere 552 votes out of over 96,000 cast, the Obama campaign’s mood is optimistic but very cautious. The campaign has registered over 4,000 new voters in this county…

As the campaign shifts into GOTV (get out the vote) mode, its universe of targeted voters begins to change. “We know who our voters are,” said Roth. “Now we just have to go get them to vote.” Asked if the racism resistance to Obama would inhibit volunteer effort here, “We had probably 200 people last night show up to our GOTV training in Washington, and it’s a complete 180 from the tough summer months.”

I have learned in my professional life as the director of a non-profit, that people who are drawn to this kind of work do so out of passion, not financial reward or other workplace benefits. If you can tap into that…you find a force to be reckoned with. That is what seems to be happening and is demonstrated by this story.

To accommodate the more spread out nature of the turf in west-central PA, over in the more rural upper half of Cambria County, Obama’s aggressive campaign has organized its volunteers to improvise with phonebank and canvass staging locations out of apartments and offices after-hours.

“Our first night about a month ago,” said volunteer Jim Sabella, “about four of us huddled around a one-bulb lamp to make calls.” The apartment the volunteers used for the phonebank hadn’t even had the electricity turned back on yet, and so they had to improvise. “We patched it through from the neighbors with an extension cord and just decided, we will do whatever it takes. Enough is enough, and we can’t take another four years like the last eight.” Now well-lit, the phone bank hosts several volunteers nearly every night of the week.

It seems to me that there are a wealth of resources out there from people who’ve had enough and are willing to do whatever it takes to be part of the change that needs to happen in this country. I just hope these folks keep at it after the election.


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  1. that the remaining undecided voters are, shall we say, “low-information” voters like that Pennsylvania couple.  I was at lunch today with someone similar who was trying to save my soul.  She reasoned that if I (just ONCE) would watch Fox News that I would see the truth about Obama.  When I tried discussing some things from the last debate, it went nowhere because she had not watched it nor any of the other debates.  

    This is a person who does not usually vote.  I’ve never heard or suspected anything racist from her.  But the forces surrounding an uninformed voter can be capriciously effective.  It sounds like the significant people in her life are rabid right-wingers.  I’m the only black sheep apparently, and she is a very loyal person.  But she brought up politics in our conversation (knowing how I would answer), not me.  Perhaps there is an opening.  I’ve got 2+ weeks to work on this project yet.  


  2. divide the former “United States” into either five or seven “regions” based upon their commonalities/resources.  The availabilty of guns is no problem and everybody carries.  The lack of a manufacturing plant producing bicycle tires located within the continental former United States does prove to be a major problem though……

    Still hold that parasitic Globo-corp owns both Obama and McCain and with the US media’s complete endorsement of Obama, corporate, for profit, infotainment media you the Murikan citizen, well you just get screwed over again and again.  Yes I am different, yes I am weird, yes my comments frequently get misinterpreted due to the institutionalized destruction of the English language but exploitation of people by the dissemination of ideology has been distilled down to a science.

    Strategic Communications Laboratories.

    Racist-The “protected” minorities who “work” with my white catholic American born wife at the nursing home know that they can scream “discrimination” upon the prospect of being fired for not answering call lights and hiding in patient rooms.  The employers, the white collar guys put up with it simply because the prospect of available “niggers” who will work triple shifts for less pay lower the pay standards for all in the very same cateforized working class.  In order to keep her job my wife had to sign a Kangaroo Court agreement saying that if she had a genuine beef, a lawsuit against the corporate assholianism that is health care she must “arbitriate” and not persue litigation in a “real” and genuine court of the United States, if there is such a thing anymore.

    Yes, we are all corporate “niggers” on this corporate bus, and we have to take seats in the back.

  3. Born and raised and still here. The ONLY time we see Murtha or any of the other fuckers in Harrisburg is during election time. We’re the forgotten side of the state. A lot of people here been voting against their own best interests for years. Our economy her died 25 years ago, it’s about time people woke up.

    Whenever I see picture from Russia, Ukraine etc…it reminds me of here, the Mon Valley. Empty rusted out factories hard eyed people.

    I’ve been arguing with republicans in this area for years. I may not change their point of view, but I can usually make them look stupid and shut them up (and think, I think?).

    I’m second generation Italian Irish etc. and married to a Jamaican. As I said to a racist friend who asked me if we’re (the country) ready for a black president? Yea we’re ready!

    • kj on October 20, 2008 at 15:08

    i’ve been thinking about a space set aside for the anger.

    a sacred space to unload.  only problem, everything said would be visible, and so the ripples of the hate would continue to spread instead of sinking of their own weight.

    an entire blog that is hidden?   i don’t know.

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