Wednesday, October 15, 2008


We truly are entering a scary time in the course of our public discourse. Perhaps this election will give us a renewed chance to have an honest, national dialogue about race, history, and the future. Unfortunately when I watch videos like the one below and pick up articles like this from the Times I wonder whether we can ever find the kind of common ground we need. After all, how do you really reach across to people who hold these kinds of deep convictions.

“I would think of him as I would of another of mixed race,” said Glenn Reynolds, 74, a retired textile worker in Martinsville, Va., and a former supervisor at a Goodyear plant. “God taught the children of Israel not to intermarry. You should be proud of what you are, and not intermarry.”


“He’s going to tear up the rose bushes and plant a watermelon patch,” said James Halsey, chuckling, while standing in the Wal-Mart parking lot with fellow workers in the environmental cleanup business. “I just don’t think we’ll ever have a black president.”

And the money shot:

“I’ve always been against the blacks,” said Mr. Rowell, who is in his 70s, recalling how he was arrested for throwing firecrackers in the black section of town. But now that he has three biracial grandchildren — “it was really rough on me” — he said he had “found out they were human beings, too.”

So, you jump from there to these people in Ohio, and it's hard to imagine a long-enough bridge to cross this divide.


UPDATE: In case we need further proof, here it is: