On substantive issues they are nearly mirror images. They both want healthcare for everyone and pretty much prescribe to all of the main issues of the left. So what is it?
As much as race has played a role in this race in past weeks, it no doubt played a role in West Virginia and will play a role next week here in the Bluegrass state. Some people simply will not vote for a black man named Barrack Obama, who for the past few days has received a plethora of support from Democratic voters. But that’s not the case in West Virginia and here in Kentucky. Why is that?
Kentucky Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo announced his endorsement for Barack Obama Sunday. Although not a superdelegate, I was glad to hear of the endorsement. While I believe endorsements make little difference in the end, it at least shows not everyone is making decision based on race.
Perhaps I should qualify that last remark. That last sentence refers to a report I heard Friday on the way home from work. A radio reporter was interviewing several West Virginia residents on the upcoming primary (which by now is history) and who they were to support in the Democratic race. Several of those questioned said they were voting for Clinton. I got the distinct feeling they weren’t going to vote for her as much as they were going to vote against him.
One woman, when questioned as to why she would not vote for Obama, could only answer they she wasn’t sure, but there was just something about him that she didn’t like. Another man answered similarly.
As much as I hate to say it, there was a subtext in this interview, of rural Americans in Appalachia who are already negatively depicted in mainstream media as racist. So, just what was it that this man and this woman could not identify?
Another woman interviewed for the program said she thought Obama was a Muslim, which played into the hands of many of his detractors on the internet who have falsely labeled him a Muslim and unpatriotic. He is not a Muslim, and I personally have grave doubts about the merits of the whole flagpin argument.
But in addition to these false rumors, there’s still that pesky little black thing. While many of the voters in America today have that capability to look past race as an issue, some have failed to jump the ethnic hurdle, and for the life of me I can’t understand why. Do some of these white people believe that if a black man is elected he’ll enslave the white race or something? What is it about being a black man that makes him unworthy of a vote? If you disagree with his political and ideological view, fine. If that’s the case he shouldn’t earn your vote. But it’s nonsensical and asinine that some are really (and have been since January) going to vote based on the color of another person’s skin. Of course it is happening, no matter what one says aloud, and if we think otherwise I would suggest we are living with our heads in the sand. Perhaps Obama’s candidacy will bring this issue to the forefront and this racial divide can be addressed once and for all.
So, was Mongiardo’s endorsement significant? In the overall scheme of things I sincerely doubt it. But for a region steeped in negative stereotype such as eastern Kentucky is, perhaps it’s a turn for the better that one of its native sons can look past the color of another’s skin.
Not everyone will agree with his endorsement, and many do not. Mongiardo has taken some heat from the local internet scene since his announcement, but it’s heat well worth taking in my mind.