Monday, October 20, 2008

White protesters greet black voters

You know that collective experience of early voting at polling places near Obama rallies I wrote about yesterday? Some people find this profoundly threatening and offensive.

Christina Bellantoni reported for the Washington Times on McCain/Palin supporters heckling Obama supporters as they cast their ballots in southwestern Virginia.

An organizer at the rally rattled off the addresses of early vote sites nearby that would be open after the event.

Photographer Joe Eddins and I headed over to the closest one and found a steady line of voters hoping to cast ballots early. Most seemed to be Obama supporters and several had come from the rally. Nearly all the voters were black.

Also at the polling site was a group of loud and angry protesters who shouted and mocked the voters as they walked in. Nearly all were white.

As you can see from these videos, no one held anything back. People were shouting about Obama's acknowledged cocaine use as a young man, abortion and one man used the word "terrorist." They also were complaining that Sundays are for church, not voting.

This wasn’t the scariest protest I've ever seen. The Obama supporter who talked with the reporter didn't seem to feel that threatened. But he is a big guy.

But protesting while people vote? Yelling scorn at people entering the polling place? That certainly goes over some important line, amounts to an attack on a basic democratic right. See the scene yourself. [5:04]


H/t the Washington Monthly.

4 comments:

Kay Dennison said...

The people make me ashamed.

Samia said...

Is what frank is saying true? Do we know if they opened that polling station on a Sunday at the last minute? Not to play devil's advocate, but I'm just curious how this works since we don't have it in California.
Thanks Jan!

deb said...

I was wondering why in this day anyone would give their name and spell it out for the interviewer. Then I realized perhaps this man wants you to know who he is. Googling 'Roger Farina' is interesting

janinsanfran said...

Hi Samia -- as far as I could figure out in stories on this, the early voting at that location had been pre-announced by the authorities, NOT specially set up to accommodate the Obama rally. Rather the reverse: I imagine they sited the rally to take advantage of the early voting location. I could very well be wrong on that.

And the generally good-natured behavior of the protesters certainly didn't seem particularly threatening in this video. It is the underlying idea of protesting voting that I find distressing.

I will say that I think the Obama supporter took advantage of the stupid reaction the press almost always has to counter-protesters, giving them as much or more space than the larger protest. The media are suckers for this sort thing. 100,000 Gay Pride marchers and 10 counter-protesters at the same location frequently get one picture each.

Yes deb -- Roger Farina does seem to be someone who like to get his face in front of cameras. Nothing wrong with that. Probably goes with the territory.

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