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A Week in the ‘Real America’

Posted on Oct 21, 2008
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By Bill Boyarsky

“Abortion is a civil rights issue, and I’m not open to compromise on that,” Jim Broestler told me. I didn’t agree with a word he said. But he was smart, thoughtful and likable and we talked about politics in a mutually respectful way.

The conversation took place during my week in conservative Appalachian Ohio. On my way there, I thought I had three strikes against me: I am a journalist, a liberal and I live in Los Angeles. But people like Broestler were friendly. What struck me was how different this was from the America of the McCain-Palin campaign, a divided place where the Republicans pit one part of the country against another with vicious robocalls at the dinner hour. These computer-generated phone calls convey, in a variety of ways, a divisive message: “Barack Obama and his liberal Democrats are too extreme for America. Please vote—vote for the candidates who share our values.”

Many others share my feelings about the divisive nature of the McCain-Palin campaign. One is someone I also don’t agree with, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican, who last weekend endorsed Obama for president. He, too, is offended by the robocalls, particularly the one linking Obama to ex-terrorist Bill Ayers.

On “Meet the Press,” Powell told Tom Brokaw: “Why do we have these robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that, because of this very, very limited relationship that Sen. Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow Mr. Obama is tainted? What they’re trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that’s inappropriate,” he said. “I’m also troubled by, not what Sen. McCain says, but what members of the party say … such things as, ‘Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.’ Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no. That’s not America. Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?”

In Ohio, I met Jim Broestler at the McCain-Palin headquarters in Ironton, an old industrial town across the Ohio River from Kentucky. It is located in a fairly new shopping center on a hill above the town. His daughter, about 2, was happily trying to dust the furniture. Broestler cares for her during the day while his wife works. He works nights in a manufacturing plant in neighboring West Virginia.

I introduced myself, explained that I was from California, wrote for a liberal Web magazine and wondered if he had time to talk. He said he’d never been interviewed before but it sounded interesting.

“A lot of registered Democrats have been coming in here,” he said. “They are socially conservative for the most part. I’d say half the people I talk to … they don’t trust Obama. A lot of them are afraid of him, his economic policies and his social policies. A few say race is the issue … abortion is a big thing.”

Broestler opposes abortion and is not, as he put it, “open to compromise on that.” And he added, “Society is changing and people are frustrated. There are things that should be right and some things wrong.” 

Finally, he feels that the rest of the country is selling his region short. “People around here don’t want to be talked down to,” he said. “The idea that they will see a 30-second commercial and vote on it, that’s not true. People I find here are willing to listen to opposing points of view.”

I also visited with the Democratic county chairman, talking with him in his law office in an old bank building in the center of town. A man in his late 60s, Craig A. Allen grew up in Ironton and has practiced law here for many years. He is calm and reasoned, definitely a lawyer to consult if you are in trouble.

Allen admitted that Obama’s race is a problem for some of his fellow townspeople. But he told me that Ironton had a two-term black mayor in the 1970s, a black councilman and presently has a black school board member. “Younger white people have grown up with a different view than their elders,” he said. 

Many residents are veterans of the U.S. military, America’s most integrated institution. White athletes have played on teams with African-Americans and see them as team and school leaders, Allen said. “Attitudes have changed, perceptions are different.”

Obama does not have to win towns like Ironton to carry Ohio, Allen said. He just needs 40 percent of their vote, and he needs to carry the more Democratic parts of the state. That is also true in other Republican states with substantial white rural populations, which is why Obama seems to be leading in North Carolina, Missouri, North Dakota and Virginia, as well as Ohio.

I certainly am not an expert on America’s small towns. But I have a feeling that Allen was correct in his analysis and that Jim Broestler was telling the truth when he said that people in Ironton are willing to listen to other points of view.

Rural America is too smart to listen to a robot calling at dinnertime.




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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 27, 2008 at 7:08 am Link to this comment


Hoodwinking, interesting word, have not heard that one for a long time.  Obama may be in the pockets of the elite, hell,  he probably is. Differences may be, which elite do you want? 

Nader, is like you and I pissing in the wind, not much planning. You do no seem to gather what I am trying to suggest. Look at the people frothing to vote for McCain/Palin, how many votes do you believe Nader will take from McCain?  Nader and his progressive agenda scares the hell out of them, look what happened to Kucinich and Gravel, they had real issues supporting the interest of the people.  From calling attention to the military complex to health care for all, where are they now?

Nader is only pulling votes from Obama, not McCain, Paul may pull a few votes from McCain.  Even if Nader became president with good intentions, he would be a 4 year lame duck, for Congress would not give him the time of day. 

Big picture? We have been screwed, are screwed and will continue to be screwed. Nader, is pissing in the wind.

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By Leefeller, October 27, 2008 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

John Balliet,

Those hidden years of Obama’a are quite the concern for you, as opposed to McCain? McCain, who has a dismal recored as a pilot, husband and senator his actions seem quite charlatan,  when he calls himself a Christian, hero and Maverick.  Addressing the real people of the nation, McCain does not have a clue. 
From after the tragedy to his crew members on the aircraft carriers, he showed a cavalier self promoting as the special son of an Admiral, (almost like Bush in many ways)  and his present association with the gambling industry and as a gambler seems cause for concern.  Not going over the whole McCain list here, his accomplishments have the moral integrity and compassion our nation has seen and grown used to, especially for the last eight years.

If one wants to play the association game, McCain has little free board to keep him afloat.

Robo calls are annoying to most and actually scare the morons and children, so as an annoyed voter, I can protest,  children are scared, this is the same mental bull pucky we had when I was a kid, when they told us we were going to be nuked by the Russians mentality,  the fear monger phone calls are unacceptable and actually show a divisive nature beyond acceptability.  Of course divisive techniques are the purpose. Your post and asking to count negative adds from both campaigns, suggests they are acceptable to you?

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, October 26, 2008 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment

Re: Lefeller

I’m not sure what your premise is, however my sentiment would be…. think larger than yourself and lesser of Obama, lest you be “hoodwinked”.

In the words of Billy Joel:

I’m sure you’ll have some cosmic rationale
But here you are in the ninth
Two men out and three men on
Nowhere to look but inside
Where we all respond to
All your life is Time Magazine
I read it too
What does it mean?
I’m sure you’ll have some cosmic rationale
But here you are with your faith
And your Peter Pan advice
You have no scars on your face
And you cannot handle pressure

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By Sepharad, October 26, 2008 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ginny F and like-minded others—In general, citizens of small or otherwise unhip towns, midwesterners, southerners, Texans and other “others” (i.e. beyond the pale of what you consider enlightened politic doctrine) are full of people as competent to decide what they want in a President as people who live in bicoastal urban areas. Maybe part of the reason there are so many people in this country who have voted against their own economic interests is that they are tired of snarky people attacking their cultural and social values then telling them what to think and who to vote for. One thing Obama has going for him is innate, visceral antenna constantly searching for common ground. E.g., why tell a church-goer his religion is based on irrational belief if you want him to consider the virtues of organizing a union in his workplace? How do you think Palin evokes racial hostility? By first telling the audience “Boy, you guys just don’t get it!” about everything else they care for?

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By Jbuuty, October 25, 2008 at 11:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I grew up not far from an Ironton near the Ohio River. If it is the same one, it is not near Kentucky at all. Anyhow, the area near Steubenville, Ohio where the Ironton I know is located has always been a rather Democrat area. It is also rather socially conservative and lots of racism can be found. Small town America is not a lock in McCain’s favor.

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By John Balliet, October 25, 2008 at 9:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The only thing I would add to your interview is that Jim is open to exceptions to the abortion rule as he is a political realist.  Jim also has many friends “on the left” who are believers of their own ideology, whom he is able to rationally discuss items and agree to disagree with.

Most pro-life supporters are ones who wants abortion, marriage, marijuana legislation, drinking ages, driving age and educational issues to be issues for each state to decide . The abortion issue , which is a state medical issue, has diverted attention away from federal issues that are delegated to the federal government.

I am not sure your extrapolation of the datum you compiled is correct, perhaps unintentionally skewed by your worldview. I have lived and worked in both major urban centers around the country , suburbia and now reside in rural Pennsylvania, so have a fairly rounded experience in the different types of cultures you discuss, as well as are from.

I think you are missing the forest for the trees on the robocalls and the tenor of the campaigns.Please post the exact number of negative ads that Barack Obama has run to date and I will state it is a record in any campaign. Factual accuracy has been given a pass. But the forest is the press has done the american public a disservice by cheerleading and not reporting this election. I am not talking about Bias. I am talking about irresponsible cheerleading.

The robocalls should not be needed,I got them, but I am aware of the point they make. But your complaint is too simplistic -why should they even be needed?

Nobody says or implies that Obama is a bomb thrower. But he did spend the last two decades working with people whose ideologies are considered outside the mainstream. Bill Ayers education policy and his views are of extreme importance of how they shape the educational worldview of Barack Obama, especially in the light of the CAC and Woods work they did together. 

Take a look at the spectrum from Frank Davis in Hawaii to Columbia, to Alinskyism, to Ayers, to Wright. Davis-mentor in early years- CPUSA. Columbia days are hidden, leaves open to question. Obama embrace of Saul Alinsky’s (marxist) worldview and theories in community organization-what Barack calls his most important education ; Bill Ayers. Anarchist and Marxist by admission. Obama works with the him at CAC and Woods and funds failed education projects, but they discuss educational philosophy, which seems to reflect in Obamas own philosophy of education.

By dissing off that he committed these acts when I was 8 or some stupid robocalls, you are highlighting a old pretext-he doth protesteth too much. It is a diversion. People do want to know his worldviews and who shaped them. We can not take him at his word by his prior actions, either in cutting taxes or upfolding his own pledge to have public finance, to saying change and picking Joe Biden D- MBNA as a agent of change who hangs out at Katies and promises us that America is going to be attacked in the first six months of Obama taking office. Mark my words as Biden put it.

America is not naive to any of this.I am watching close as Barack gets ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory again.

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By Purple Girl, October 25, 2008 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

Might as well go Preach to the Choir, or talk to a wall.
Funny how they are so emotionally engrossed with the topic of abortion but do nothing to prevent the causal factors!
They don’t want to discuss Birth control,and They don’t want to consider real education.
Beyond that they don’t want to discuss stem cell therapy which could reduce the liklihood of Birth defects, another reason for Terminiations!
They hate Gov’t funding for not only Prevention,but also food stamps and low cost healthcare centers or even healthcare in general- which would support a low income mother and her child, thus making it one less thing in the ‘Negative column’! By the Way Who determined the Wife, Mother ,Daughter, sister, Friends life is Less valueable than a not ready for Debut embryo or even Fetus? They are making life & death calls they are not Privvy to make too! So their claim to being ‘ProLife’ is innately Flawed to begin with.Granted the Cel masses completed their task, excet they have not yet completed their transition Through Birth.
I will not jeporadize a Life in progress for one which has not yet emerged, not taken it’s first breath of life, and has yet to begin it’s POTENTIAL for A Life.
Typical Christian doctrine, women are mere uterine recepticles
How about this then ....
Every male who fails to keep up on Child support is Castrated.Consider how many social ills could be solved with that Legal move. so if you can Force women to have children then you must also have the Right to inflict such control over the other half of the equation reproductive abilities.
How about No Compromise on that!

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By Leefeller, October 24, 2008 at 6:24 am Link to this comment


Not sure what your challenge is, but I suppose more Naderism’s.  So now after my comment you have a platform.

Even though I find some of Nader’s comments worthy, I believe he like Palin the belladonna, starves for notoriety. Sure the two party system sucks, but Nader is not doing anything to change it. 

You know, I have not heard anything bad about Nader, on the News, actually nothing on the News or even from outer space,  I have not herd anything at all?  Nader who? We can suspect, Nader may not have had any bad associations, never made any bad decisions and has not started any wars.  Who does Nader Pal around with? What about his religion? Has little known Nader had any scrutiny done, any mud sticking to the wall on Nader, no slinging either?  What does that mean, maybe he is a no show, like the ant and the elephant or is he more like Dumbo? 

I would vote for the Nader party, but what animal do they use for a symbol?  May I suggest the lizard would be appropriate for the Nader Party, coming out from under a rock occasionally and doing a few push ups in the sun. Instead of a lizard, how about a big photo of the ultimate solipsist, though, he cannot call himself a Maverick, McCain has already screwed that one up.  How about moons, every four years Nader Moons us. Hey if we painted them blue the symbol would be most suited. Aah—- “The Blue Moon Party”—-Now that has a ring to it. Actually I like it.

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, October 23, 2008 at 9:31 pm Link to this comment

Re: Everyone

Firstly Bill Boyarsky, finally, we can agree on something, since your Obama is best rhetoric is oh…so… BLANTANT.

I agree, not everyone in a small community is ignorant of who they are and what they are doing.  Thank you.  I think it needs to be said.  I also, like you, have found that small communities are not necessarily intolerant of speaking of their views or of hearing yours.  Whatever those might be.  Good for you for illuminating that fact.

I have lived in the smallest of the smallest.  Which I construe as living outside of the smallest town anywhere (in fact, 20 miles from it…LOL), in effect what some might consider “no-mans” land.  Still, people are people.  Each with their own “take” on the matters they feel affect them most, good or bad… right or wrong.

I’d like to add that I now live in the city, and see this SAME thought process.  I personally disagree, yet… there is no difference, for arguments sake.
So… where do we go from here?  I disagree with Obama’s take, as well as many of the persons that you may have encountered, but very probably for differing reasons.

And just as there are small communities and towns which are close-minded and unforgiving, so too we see this in the larger sense, in other words the “bigger” cities.  (LOL… whatever, “bigger” means…this becomes contextual…given your perspective….no?)  Either way, ALL….let me say that again….ALL need to address THEIR biases and taught ideologies and fiction and simply TALK to each other.  That’s it.  Talk.

Hey…STEP UP AMERICA, GET YOUR GAME ON.  I challenge you.  I’m good for it if you are.  Truthfully, provided I’m not “under the weather”, I’m ALWAYS good for it.  Do it, put it out there.  So… say what you think, fess up.  Nobody has to die over a difference of opinion…. do they..?  You and I, we’ll live.  Put it out there.

Hey… the WORST you can do is insult my intelligence… but alas… you won’t be the first one.  On the other hand, yeah goddamn it, I take that personally (for chrissakes, I’m human) just the same… it won’t KILL me either… giver’ your best shot.

I’m good, if you are.  LOL

Hang tough.

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By Paul_GA, October 23, 2008 at 3:36 am Link to this comment

Unfortunately, Kesa, Nader’s not on the Georgia ballot, either—only Obama, McCain, and Bob Barr. And there’s no provision for a write-in; just the above three and “no preference”, according to a sample ballot I’ve found online.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 23, 2008 at 3:10 am Link to this comment

For all the Sarah Palin fans: 9/11 didn’t happen in her “Real America”.  It happened in New York City and in Arlington, VA, in the DC area.  The planes took off from Boston, Mass.  None of those 3 places is in Palin’s “Real America”. 

Only Flight 93, which crashed in Pa, was in Palin’s “Real America”

Therefore, Palinsanity tells us that the attack on the WTC and the Pentagon didn’t happen to “Real America”.  So….why are we in Afghanistan and Iraq?

I live 25 miles from Ground Zero.  Palin is full of $#!t.

BTW, Sarah Moose-a-lini: The Statue of Liberty is in New York Harbor, in New Jersey.  I guess Lady Liberty isn’t a “Real American” to Sarah Palin either.

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By mike, October 22, 2008 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My grandfather lives in datyon ohio.  Has lived there since late 40’s after getting out of the army after WW 2.  He grew up in Kentucky and I am sorry to say when I grew up around him racist as they come.  But after having several black families move in around him and the help and concern they gave him after my grand mother died he has changed his mind.  He told my mother I am voting for Oboma because the republicans are nuts and he seems to be the one for the middle class.  also he just loves watching one of his old boy friends lose their mind when he says who he is going to vote for

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By kesa, October 22, 2008 at 7:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If Ralph Nader isn’t anti war enough for you, then I’d say you’re not paying attention. Nader is on the ballot in 45 states. There is a third party candidate debate Friday night broadcast on C-span 9pm EST.
Visit Nader’s website, unless you’re afraid to stand up for the truth.

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By 911truthdotorg, October 22, 2008 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

The “real” America doesn’t exist within 100 miles of our borders. And soon it won’t be anywhere.

The Constitution Free Zone

The same thing happened to me coming back from San Diego, except they didn’t search my car.

The official story of 9/11 is a total LIE.
And this is the result of that lie.
The end of America.

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By Paul_GA, October 22, 2008 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment

Personally, I’m not voting for Obama because he’s not “extreme” enough; i.e., he’s not antiwar enough to suit me. I believe that in order to resolve the economic crisis, this country will have to abandon its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and also end the “global war on terror”; to continue these money-draining wars when we may be on the verge of a recession or even a depression is unbelievably stupid. The only person running for president now who is antiwar enough is Cynthia McKinney—and unfortunately, she’s not on the Georgia ballot. So I’ll be voting “no preference” come November 4th.

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By Sharonsj, October 22, 2008 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m liberal, a voting Democrat, and I own two rifles.  True, I don’t believe in hunting for sport and I never shot anything, but don’t think I wouldn’t shoot someone breaking into my home.  And I live in a small town too.  Most people are pretty nice.  But most people aren’t bothered by the facts either.

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By Ginny F, October 22, 2008 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“There is no talking to these people about their political views, because they don’t think….THEY BELIEVE!”

Ever since 9/11, I’ve researched and read everything I can get my hands on with regards to Islam, the muslims, Al Qaeda, Afghanistan and Iraq.  Right at the moment I am reading a book by Dexter Filkins, “THE FOREVER WAR”.  It is a must read not only for insight into the American side of operations and thinking but the Iraqi people, the Insurgents , who they are, and how they think as well.  You won’t be able to put it down. 

Many American’s are non-thinking BELIEVERS, who do not know about their own country, their own religion, their own Constitution , much less any other country or religion. Even worse (in my experience) they do not want to know.  ANY, I do mean: ANY attempts to get these people to read a damn book is taken as an offense!  Asking them to clarify or define what they mean by such statements as “Obama is the most liberal…” , “Obama is a socialist/Marxist..” will only piss them off and cause them to suddenly remember an “appointment” they got to get to as they scurry for the door.

Yes, Big B, I agree with you ....

“America after an Obama victory could be a violent place indeed.

whatever atrocities they perpetrate on the american public during an Obama presidency will be seen as orchestrated and approved by the lord himself!”

Yes, and then blame it on the black people. Blame it on the devil. Blame it on the liboorals, and the liberal media. I mean, they’ve got an almighty god on their side, now don’t you know.

I do believe McCain is going to haul out the Rev Wright crap in the next few days. Never mind that McCain and particularly Sarah Palin have their own Rev Wright’s.  I’d like Obama to run an ad with the video clips and audio of the founder of AIP:

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By Leefeller, October 22, 2008 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment

Ginny F,

“abortion and guns and gay marriage”,  Even in California, the religious circles are pushing their agenda against gay marriage and may win. When you look at the war (what war) the deaths of thousands of people is like a void in the minds of the American public, instead they focus on the three items like it really means something to the real world?

So we see abortion and guns and gay marriage, as major issues in the minds of people who cannot worry about families being killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Ignorance is so easy to manipulate.  The vipers of spin from the right,  Fox and Limbaugh etc. make money on the deaths of others, hucksters and slime as they are, many people seem to love eating up their verbal feces. Why?

If you look at the staple of the Republicans agendas, it is the same every election and has little to do with people as individuals affecting their daily lives.  Manipulation of emotions is used to promote divisive differences instead of trying to bring people coming and working together as a whole.  Issues which effect our daily lives cannot be addressed, for unity of the people is not the object or goal.  The two party system lives on.

Plutocracy, special interests and elite work cohesively to create division among the masses, otherwise the focus would be on things like the war, medical care and the economy, even education and most of all, the people would be focusing on the manipulators,  the elite.

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By Serginho, October 22, 2008 at 11:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

...about these people being bitter, clinging to guns and religion.

That is why they won’t vote for him.  Because he had the guts to come out and say it.  And they know they are bitter and such, and willfully ignorant of the fact that they way they vote keeps them poor.

I wish I shared Mr. Scheer’s optimism and willingness to see the better side of this issue but I can’t.

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By jobart, October 22, 2008 at 11:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The way I see these things is very simple.
There are, basically, two kinds of people in our country. There are those that have beliefs and are willing to question those beliefs if, and when, alternative beliefs make “more sense”.  For the sake of argument, let’s “label” those folks as open-minded. In essence, wanting to believe what they do until something/facts makes them reconsider those beliefs.  Then there is a second set of people that choose to believe what they do, or what they’ve been “convinced” to believe that is in their best interests. (and that’s really the rub). These are those “close-minded” people.
I’m not professing degree, nor the amount of intelligent functioning of this second set of people.  I’m sure that that they know a lot more about things like … killing animals through the use of weaponry…distance spittin’….loudest farting….abusing the female specie…chewin tobaccy….overhauling an engine (car/tractor/BIG WHEEL pickups, etc.).  I have to give them that.  But, when considering higher education; women’s rights; minorities rights; gun control; individual’s liberty; trust and devotion to the U.S. Constitution; I feel that these citizens/flunkies of “small-town” America are showing the rest of America why/not they should have an as-equal say as the rest of us that are trying to fix things. Those that are willing to “embrace” the past, and proved to be, wrong views that has effectively impeded the progress that America has made don’t deserve a representative part in the reparation that is now required.
I don’t agree that this “segment of our population” is ignorant/stupid.  Forrest Gump said that “stupid is as stupid does”.  Right? What would you classify what these people “do”? Right.
Last point.  Are they just being/acting stupid? I don’t think so.  I think that they’re just being “lazy”. Intellectually lazy.  Thinking independently “might” require defending a particular position, or a personal thought. That’s real work, folks.  It can expose you for all you are re: your relative worth within a group. That’s a pretty scary scenario for those of F. Nietzsche’s “herd mentality”.  The stance of “I’m one of you” is a comfortable and non-threatening place to exist in.  It’s safe and all you have to do is conform and nobody will question you, or your thoughts/ideas.
I’m more inclined to feel sorry for these folks, and pity their shallow existences then I am to condemn them for their “fall back/uninvolved positions. But, I really feel “distain” when I think of them, being who they are, but a muted “hatred” reains when I realize that their dysfunctional behavior is still fucking up my country.

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By Big B, October 22, 2008 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

While it is true that not all small towns are filled with narrow minded, bible thumping, flag sucking, facists, most of the ones I have visited are. Hell, the one I live in is! Most of our 300 residents vote republican. Half do it because they always have. They pay no attention to the news or any current events, they just have always voted republican. The other half believe that the word of god allmighty leaves the lips of Rush Limbaugh every morning! That everywhere Sean Hannity takes a shit, flowers grow. There is no talking to these people about their political views, because they don’t think, THEY BELIEVE! For these reasons, and many more, America after an Obama victory could be a violent place indeed.
Keep in mind, many liberals(myself included) don’t own a weapon. The bible humping, flag sucking, crowd tend to be armed to the teeth. And whatever atrocities they perpetrate on the american public during an Obama presidency will be seen as orchestrated and approved by the lord himself!

Does this seem bleak? Do you think that if Barry wins, the wacko right wing in our country is just going to shrug their shoulders and join hands with the nearest liberal and sing kumbaya?

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By Davol, October 22, 2008 at 10:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m from the small town of Missoula MT, which is one of the more liberal cranny’s in this red state.  I made some comment in the bar Sunday against Bush only to find out that the guy across the table was actually a Republican.  I turned to my girlfriend and told her, “see I told you they were out there.”  We had a thoughtful respectful conversation.  He wanted to know why we were voting for Obama, and we both gave him several reasons.  He was quiet about why he was going to vote for McCain, and my impression was just party loyalty common to these (R)-types.  My impression is that we are seeing a division occurring in the Republican party between the thoughtful human wing and the stereotypical hate-filled bigot wing.  This began years ago when lots of people who were Republican began calling themselves Independent’s to shake off the embarrassment of admitting Republican loyalty.  It seems all McCain has left to work with are the loyal hate-filled insurgency against liberals.  My point is that we are already starting to see the sore-loosing activities of Republicans suddenly having trouble playing on a loosing side.  Other human Republicans seem to be sole-searching and trying to find out what the new majority is seeing in these liberals.  They were a pretty smug party just 4 years ago, and I remember the weekend before the 2004 election being pulled over by a car full of rednecks who were offended by my “Save America.  Defeat Bush” bumper sticker.  We had a good argument back then about how much Bush sucked and why I was voting for Kerry.  Nobody’s mind was changed, but its not hard to see how that kind of intimidation by lots of Republican insurgents can effect an election.  I wasn’t for Obama in the beginning and cast my nomination vote for Hillary Clinton because at the time I was more sure of what my vote would get.  Obama seemed like a good ear-tickler, but without much substance to his high ideals that I couldn’t help but agree with.  I’ve since got to know him better and that seems to be all Obama needs to do to finish this election in a landslide.  To get to know him is to recognize him for the highly intelligent and capable leader that just emanates from the man.  I think we’ve been seeing my experience happening across this country as more people with only a first impression of Obama get to know him better.  I am more confident than ever that my vote for Obama is the right choice because I definitely want his head wrapped around this countries problems as opposed to the lack of a brain in McCain.

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By Spiritgirl, October 22, 2008 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

It’s nice to see that people are still willing to have a civil conversation.  Of course I believe that the “cultural” issue of abortion has just been way too over-simplified!  First abortion was won because it was based in part on the right to privacy.  At that moment it is a woman’s conversation with her doctor, and it is in the end a woman that will (1)carry the baby to term, (2)nurture and raise the baby, (3)have to live with whatever her decision is.  Abortion foes don’t want to recognize a few truths (1)day care is expensive, (2)all women are not married, and marriage is not a guarantee against divorce, (3)many men still do not pay child support, (4)even receiving child support is not a determinant of adequate care for your child, (5)there is a whole demographic that while not able to qualify for that EIC - does not mean that they too do not need help!

For those that take issue with Sen. Obama because of his stance on abortion, please let me ask you as there are about 2.5 million children in this country in the foster care system: (1)how many of those children have you taken in as foster kids or adopted?  (2)Since all of the “babies” up for adoption are not adopted these kids still need to be cared for, what has been done for them lately?  (3)When you have walked in a womans who does abort) shoes, then maybe, just maybe you can say what was right or wrong for her!

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By jake3988, October 22, 2008 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

Obama too extreme?  Heh.  What would happen to their collective heads if a real liberal were nominated for president?  Obama is very moderate.  He’s moderate on just about every issue there is.

Just because McCain is so far to the right that they fall off the scale does not mean Obama is ‘extreme’.

Fortunately, I’m glad to know not everyone who supports them thinks that way.

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By Ginny F, October 22, 2008 at 7:11 am Link to this comment
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quote: “I have a feeling that Allen was correct in his analysis and that Jim Broestler was telling the truth when he said that people in Ironton were willing to listen to other points of view.”

While that maybe true for many small town folks, it certainly does not represent all of them.  No way.  I was born and raised in a small town.  Still have many relatives who live in small towns in Kentucky, W VA and Ohio.

MY experience has been quite different.  I’ve talked to many thousands of them not only this election year but in 2000 and 2004.  The vast majority appear to have their own dictionary; their own set of words which they allow FOX news , Hannity, O’Rielly, Limbaugh, et al, define for them. Once those are set in concrete there is nothing can penetrate; nothing can change their minds.
I’m talking about terms such as “liberal”, “socialism” “Communism” “Conservative” and “seperation of church and state”  to name a FEW.

They toss out a sound bite, or a single line snippet from an Obama speech, or Obama’s books (which they heard from a Fox pundit) and repeat it over and over and over. They will not read the ENTIRE book; will not do any research on their own, and even if the whole portion from which the snippet or sound bite is taken is presented to them, they will not accept it , won’t read it,  don’t try to understand it, and go right on out there to repeat the same little misleading snippet to the next gullible.  Rinse and repeat.

Every election year, the same old worn out issues are pressed upon the religious folks (abortion and guns and gay marriage).  I spoke to my brother-in-law in W. Va just the other day and the main reason is ? Yep; He is a gun owner, and the NRA has drummed it into his brain that Obama is hell bent on taking away his guns!  Never mind that this claim has been trotted out there going back to every election since god knows when. 

I’m sorry, but the religious, “small town values” voters are so easily influenced; so easy to manipulate by emotionally charged words and boogeyman robo call type calls or words coming from the FOX pundits/entertainers. I’ve said for many years: IF I were a crook; IF I had no conscience, no morals, I would go into either the religion business, or go into politics. Because the masses of religious folks, especially the small town “values” people are so darn easy to snow, to dupe, con and ......USE.

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By Midway54, October 22, 2008 at 6:45 am Link to this comment
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McCain has drawn a bright line between his Navy career and the sleaze merchant he has become. He has completely humiliated himself, with no sign of self-respect. The worst thing he has done is to name as his running mate the grossly unqualified Shreiking Sarah Palin, a clueless loudmouth who is an embarassment to the Nation with the World watching in amazement.

It is hard to predict just how low the plutocrats will go in the next two weeks of shrill propaganda and deceit to get another puppet in the White House. Palin need not worry after the Democratic landslide. There is a good chance that she will show up as either a regular or a frequent guest at Fox, joining that great guest team of Rove, Ingraham, Gingrich, Coulter, and Morris.

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By Bev, October 22, 2008 at 6:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I do not believe that small town or rural people are any different than people in cities and suburbs. They may have a few different problems but that is it. But I do believe that the McCain/Palin campaign is purposely saying things to attract and encourage the extremists, bigots etc. because they want to divide, cause people to fear,  and because it gets people listening to see what other outrageous things they will say. It also gets them free media coverage that they wouldn’t otherwise get. In the mean time the ideas that they want to get out there are out there.  They know that they will have to apologize or denie or explain away what the campaign or they themselves said.  They are playing a very dangerous game. But hey, who cares, as long as we win the election.  Ever heard of “all is fair in love and war” and they are at war, ethics and honor be damned. They want to WIN AT ALL COSTS and we all know how important winning is to McCain.

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By skulz fontaine, October 22, 2008 at 5:59 am Link to this comment

Damn straight Paul. We small town folk can even walk and chew gum at the same time. I like Obama. I’ve even voted for the man and can admit that. Curious though, my town is so small, the County Clerk won’t send a polling team out here to hold an election so we get to do it all by ‘absentee ballot’. Which makes for convenience but, it seems somehow unAmerican. And one last thought, the abortion issue is just creepy. The whole concept of sucking human fetus from a woman’s womb makes for some truly uncomfortable morality. That’s just me damn it and I admit that the abortion thing is uncomfortable. However, I’m not a woman and can’t even begin to understand what a woman MUST have to go through when dealing with an unwanted pregnancy. Besides, how is sucking a human fetus from a womb different than dropping bunker-buster bombs on innocent Iraqis? Ashes to ashes and Bush is a bust. If’n the lightening don’t get ya, then the robocalls must! Peace and out!

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By Jaded Prole, October 22, 2008 at 5:56 am Link to this comment

I am glad to hear from a variety of people and to have friends I disagree with. The bitter divisiveness and name calling gets us nowhere. We have to be able to listen and converse to change minds and to learn.The real problem is not rural voters, its vote-rigging on the state levels. I’m glad its getting more attention but I still expect every attempt to disenfranchise voters, to miscount and dump votes, and to steal an election the right can’t win outright.

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By Paul_GA, October 22, 2008 at 5:14 am Link to this comment

So you see, we’re not a bunch of rubes or hicks or hayseeds, friends, so please cease and desist with your prejudices against rural people just because we choose not to live in big cities.

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