Friday, April 04, 2008

Latrobe, PA: Hotbed of Important Political Issues

Every so often, there will be an article in the paper with a political focus of a town or region in the US along with viewpoints of local residents. That's always a guaranteed joyride along the bumpy road of American stupidity.

With the Pennsylvania primary coming in just over 2 weeks, we get to wallow in a New York Times piece today with quotes from the intelligentsia of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Latrobe is a former steel city and ex-home of Rolling Rock beer prior to its acquisition by a larger beer conglomerate which moved all operations to Newark, NJ, resulting in the loss of good-paying jobs in the Latrobe area. But there are far more important issues on the minds of the townsfolk.
Ask whom she might vote for in the coming presidential primary election and Nash McCabe, 52, seems almost relieved to be able to unpack the dossier she has been collecting in her head.

It is not about whom she likes, but more a bill of particulars about why she cannot vote for Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.

“How can I vote for a president who won’t wear a flag pin?” Mrs. McCabe, a recently unemployed clerk typist, said in a booth at the Valley Dairy luncheonette in this quiet, small city in western Pennsylvania.


“I watch him on TV,” Mrs. McCabe said. “I keep looking for that lapel pin.”

Never mind that our economy is collapsing; you just keep on looking for that lapel pin because God knows that is the true measure of the best man or woman to lead this nation.
Asked the same question this week at a sports bar, Bob Stano, an engineer and a hunter, cradled his chin for a long minute.

“I really do like Barack Obama,” Mr. Stano said, mentioning Mr. Obama before anyone else. “Except for his politics, he seems like a good thing for the country.”

His "politics" happens to be centered on the 2nd amendment in Mr. Stano's mind. Yep, the one about guns. Because if we're going to shred the constitution, all the other amendments are disposable except THAT one.
“I don’t say this because he’s black, but the guy just seems arrogant to me, the way he expects things to go his way,” said Harry Brobst, a truck driver who had never registered to vote until this year.

Excuse me? Arrogant? Is this the same level of arrogance which led us into a war in Iraq? And what about Hillary? Oh, no arrogance there!

Arrogance isn't Hillary's problem though; it's her.. {ahem}.. emotion.
Deb Friedline, an insurance agent here, said Mrs. Clinton was too likely to make decisions based on emotion, but when asked if that was because the senator is a woman, Ms. Friedline said, “No, I honestly don’t think of her as a woman.”

Anyhow, it's so refreshing that Latrobe, a city where the residents are 99% white, isn't showing signs of racism.
Gail Delsordo, who said she would vote for Mr. McCain, added: “I don’t see Obama as a ‘color,’ but I do think he needs to get away from mimicking Dr. Martin Luther King. I’m not degrading Dr. King. I liked what he stood for, and it’s a shame what happened to him. But Obama needs to be his own person.”

I am 1,456 miles from Latrobe but somehow I can still smell bullshit. What an extraordinary olfaction I have.
“When I worked in the steel mill, there were always a few guys who were black,” Robert Bradish said. “But you wouldn’t even know they were black, we got along so well.”

But back to that ex-brewery, home of Rolling Rock:
A new company came in that employs fewer people, mostly at lower wages.

“I’m making $5 an hour less than I did before,” said Rick Musick, who parked his truck outside the brewery just before the 5 p.m. shift.

Like almost everyone interviewed in Latrobe, Mr. Musick said he was worried about the economy, health care and the price of gasoline.

He said he did not “know what to make of Obama.” Mr. Musick said he had liked the senator but then decided that he did not “for a bunch of reasons.”

“It’s not about race,” he added. “It’s about a feeling I have.”

I have a feeling as well. Most of the people interviewed for this article are idiots with terribly misplaced priorities.

Ya'll have fun on April 22 and remember: it's all about God, Guns, Flags, and Feelings. All our other problems will self-correct over time.

Crossposted at Big Brass Blog

No comments: