Monday, September 15, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Lynn sent me this note on Friday and I wanted to share with everyone with her permission:
My daughter, Katie, and I just returned from working the Voter Registration table at Wal-Mart and I wanted to report to you that we registered 10 new voters! We're pretty certain that all 10 are new Democrats. One older gentleman told us that he had never voted in his life, but felt that Obama was the person to affect the change that was needed! It was a privilege to help him to register for the first time!We had many interesting conversations and encounters with Giles County residents this evening. Many people are fed up with the economy and absolutely furious about the gas prices. Some families were re-thinking their Friday night grocery shopping lists since they needed to fill their gas tanks before they went inside to shop. The price at the pump in front of Wal-Mart was $4.99!!
Anyway, I think that Friday evenings (we were there from 3:45-6:30) are a good time to try to register voters there at WalMart. There was lots of traffic and even if people were already registered to vote, they seemed relaxed enough to stop and chat about the election. We gave out many buttons and bumper stickers to those who asked for them.
Also, check out the new letter to Roanoke Times editor by Ann Goette yesterday (click here or on letters widget). I do think she is on the right track by keeping the emphasis on McCain.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Denise Blakeley from Giles County sent me a signed copy of Gloria Jean Craven's speech at the Democratic National Convention. She was one of the "real" people featured before Obama's acceptance speech. Here is the text I typed from Denise's scan:
My name is Gloria Craven. I live in Eden, North Carolina. My story is not much different than a lot of other people in this country. I lived in a town built on textiles. Growing up, most of us didn't have much use for schools because we didn't think a diploma meant that much. The important thing was taking care of your family--a lot of people in our area chose work over school.There are stories like hers all over Southwest Virginia---people who who have lost jobs as factories shift production overseas. Barack Obama has promised to renegotiate the trade agreements, including NAFTA, that created this dire situation, to make them fair for American workers. McCain would not--he is for free trade agreements without any protections for American workers or the environment. As Gloria said, he is for the wealthy people--not people like us.
I worked at the same place--for a company called Pillowtex for 30 years. In 2003, the plant shut down for a week. The next week, when we were supposed to report back to work, we were told not to come in. A few weeks later, we were told the plant had closed. More than 8,000 people lost their jobs in one day. And that was it. After 30 years, no notice, no "thank you." For the job he did, our CEO got a bonus of $300,000. Our union fought for several years to get back our vacation pay.
Overnight, my family and community totally changed. George Bush told us that we should all just go to college. But 65 percent of the people in the mill could barely read or write. We weren't in a position to go to college, and we couldn't afford it anyway.
My husband, Jacob, lost his job, too. Now, we live on his Social Security. I used to think I was middle class. But now we are living at the poverty level. I tell my husband how proud I am because even at his age, he's going back to school. But for a 62 year old man, who spent his life in the mills, there aren't many opportunities.
I used trade adjustment assistance to go back to school myself, and graduated in 2006. But I had some medical problems: turns out walking on a concrete floor for 30 years was bad for my health.
My husband and I worked hard all our lives. Now, we're struggling to get by without health insurance and just a little retirement money. There used to be a time in America when you felt like there were people in government who were looking out for people like me. But not the last eight years. I know I can't stand another four years of George W. Bush.
But John McCain will be no different. When he said a few months ago that we've made great progress economically, it made me wonder: who does he mean by "we?" And then I read he owns seven houses, and it was clear that "we" didn't include "me."
But Barack Obama has made me believe again. I get the feeling he cares about people like me, and will create an America where things like hard work and loyalty mean something again. My hope is that he'll bring the change so many of us need. I can't wait to see Barack Obama in the White House.
Gloria Jean Craven
August 24, 2008