While on a long motorcycle ride through the passes and bypasses of Southwestern Virginia recently, I noticed an interesting, but disturbing, trend in the sea of political signs that cover the landscape.

In Republican front yards, you find signs touting GOP Senatorial candidate Jim Gilmore, the party’s choice for the House (different names depending on the district) and, of course, the signs promoting John McCain and Sarah Palin in the Presidential race.

In many Democratic yards, however, you see signs promoting Senatorial choice Mark Warner, House choices like Rick Boucher, but no signs for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Oversight? I doubt it. Racism? Yep. I’ve even seen some yards promoting Warner, Boucher and McCain.

McCain will probably carry Southwestern Virginia, even as racist incumbent Senator George Allen did two years ago, although Allen lost when more enlightened members of the electorate cast their votes elsewhere in the state. And voters around here continue to send blatant racists like Virgil Goode back to Washington.

We can talk until the cows come home about how Southwestern Virginia has changed for the better but the sad fact remains that racism still has strong roots in this part of the state. I’ve overheard too many overt racist comments about Obama in the last few months and racism, unfortunately, extends beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

If Obama were white and had a more Anglo Saxon sounding name, McCain and Palin wouldn’t stand a chance.  But he’s half black and that’s a problem when racism remains part of our national heritage.

Writes Charles Babbington of The Associated Press:

Since the nation’s birth, Americans have discussed race and avoided it, organized neighborhoods and political movements around it, and used it to divide and hurt people even as relations have improved dramatically since the days of slavery, Reconstruction and legal segregation.

Now, in what could be a historic year for a black presidential candidate, a new Associated Press-Yahoo! News poll, conducted with Stanford University, shows just how wide a gap remains between whites and blacks.

It shows that a substantial portion of white Americans still harbor negative feelings toward blacks. It shows that blacks and whites disagree tremendously on how much racial prejudice exists, whose fault it is and how much influence blacks have in politics.

One result is that Barack Obama’s path to the presidency is steeper than it would be if he were white.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. From my own perspective as a generally conservative person, I’m not voting for Obama because I disagree fundamentally with his policy stances from his Blueprint for Change (yes, I’ve read it). I’m also not voting for McCain-Palin because I don’t think they get it either. However, I am voting for Mark Warner because I felt he did a good job managing Virginia while governor, and I think some of his business sense might help in DC. I have supported other black and minority candidates in the past that were more closely aligned with my personal beliefs, which is what my vote comes down to every time. I do, sadly, know several people who will not vote for Obama because of his name, father’s Islamic religion, and his skin color…and that troubles me deeply because those don’t have anything to do with the man himself as I see him. However his personal ideology, personal associations, and past business dealings are of concern for many people who aren’t racist and i would hope they would be of concern for any candidate running for the Presidency of this country.

  2. As long as millions choose to vote for Obama because of his race, I fell perfectly justified voting against him based on the same criteria.

  3. I support Mark Warner because he has a winning record.
    I don’t support Barack Obama because he doesn’t.
    And by now, I am just damned sick of being called a racist because the democrats put up yet another empty suit and I refuse to support it.
    We will have a dem congress and I can’t imagine having that whiny POS yelling racist every time he doesn’t get his way.
    I have put up with 8 years of a POTUS calling me unpatriotic because I disagree with his policy.
    Sorry kids. Not going there again.

  4. I too had drawn the same conclusion driving around Floyd county myself just recently. I was counting the percentage of Obama vs. McSame signs- similar to Greyfox above- & noticed how many Warner signs there were without an Obama sign to go with it. I’m still waiting for my own Obama sign & stickers ordered online 2 weeks ago! From the comments here I guess I’d better just keep my fingers crossed that I’ll receive them before the election.

  5. This is Goldwater land but few will support McCain due to his Amnesty vote. He really lost Arizona with his backing out of the much-needed fence and new immigration laws.

    My kids are supporting Mark Warner and have attended many fund raisers. I mention this only because my youngest daughter and her husband are Republicans. They have had enough of the GOP. I’m writing in Ron Paul. Shoot me!

  6. Just because I don’t like Obama’s politics doesn’t mean I am racist. I just finished reading an article in the Times (NY Times) where people who didn’t support Obama were considered racist. I see several signs in Tazewell County supporting Obama and on my way to Abingdon on Saturday, I saw many in Russell County. I *thought* this was America where you were allowed to form your own opinion and express it. I guess the politically correctness squad want to take that away too. I am so sick of reporters who want to make us racist for not supporting a black candidate. I don’t the man’s polictics period. I am not voting for him because I don’t like his platform. If he was white with the same platform, I wouldn’t vote for him either.

  7. Although this isn’t exactly the same thing you’re talking about, it is closely related. We see much hand-wringing from the talking heads on the lobotomy box about how race plays a factor in this election – how a disproporionate number of whites won’t vote for Obama, presumably because he’s black. Almost always missing from this emoting is the fact that (depending on whose data you want to believe) over 90% of blacks are voting for Obama. Is this because Obama’s platform is agreeable to over 90% of blacks, or are they simply voting for him because he’s black? Yes, race will play a part in this election – some blacks will vote for Obama because he’s black, and some whites won’t vote for him because he’s black. I can’t help but think it comes close to balancing itself out in the end.

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