Tahoo News: ‘Rednecks for Obama’ want to bridge yawning culture gap

Tahoo News

‘Rednecks for Obama’ want to bridge yawning culture gap

When Barack Obama‘s campaign bus made a swing through Missouri in July, the unlikeliest of supporters were waiting for him — or rather two of them, holding the banner: “Rednecks for Obama.”

In backing the first African-American nominee of a major party for the US presidency, the pair are on a grassroots mission to bridge a cultural gap in the United States and help usher their preferred candidate into the White House.

Tony Viessman, 74, and Les Spencer, 60, got politically active last year when it occurred to them there must be other lower income, rural, beer-drinking, gun-loving, NASCAR race enthusiasts fed up with business as usual in Washington.

Rednecks4obama.com claims more than 800,000 online visits. In Denver, Colorado, Viessman and Spencer drew crowds at the Democratic convention, and at Washington University last Thursday they were two of the most popular senior citizens on campus.

“I’m shocked, actually, but excited” that such a demographic would be organizing support for Obama, said student Naia Ferguson, 18, said after hamming it up for pictures behind the banner.

“When most people think ‘redneck,’ they think conservatives, anti-change, even anti-integration,” she said. “But America’s changing, breaking stereotypes.”

A southern comedian, Jeff Foxworthy, defines the stereotype as a “glorious lack of sophistication”.

Philistines or not, he said, most rural southerners are no longer proponents of the Old South’s most abhorrent ideology — racism — and that workaday issues such as the economy are dominating this year’s election.

“We need to build the economy from the bottom up, none of this trickle down business,” Spencer said. “Just because you’re white and southern don’t mean you have to vote Republican.”

To an important degree, however, race is still the elephant in the polling booth, experts say, and according to a recent Stanford University poll, Obama could lose six points onelection day due to his color.

Racism “has softened up some, but it’s still there,” Viessman acknowledged fromBelmont University, site of Tuesday’s McCain-Obama debate in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: