Baltimore - It warmed my heart to vote today. I can tell you it took me 1 hour and 15 minutes. The people in line were pumped. A number of people were voting for the first time, others hadn't voted in years and veterans were impressed. Few votes opted to leave before casting their vote. Lauren who stood with me in line said she hadn't voted in the last two years(which shocked me because she was over 30). "This is different." I'm preparing for my news analysis on WYPR-FM. You can listen in by clicking on the call letters. I also had a chance to visit one of Maryland's strongest Republican areas (Eastern Shore). It has a very contested congressional race. What I found interested was a woman who said she voted for John McCain but voted for the Democrat who was from the area. I believe there will be a lot of ticket splitting this election.
With less than a day to go before this year’s Presidential election I’m caught up in reminiscing about Grandfather. My namesake was often a political prognosticator. From his seat on my family’s home in Richmond, Virginia he marveled when Doug Wilder, the grandson of a slave, became the states first African-American governor. It provided some of the most liveliest conversations. “Boy, you just don’t know,” he would say. My grandfather known as Charlie Robinson (I personally, hate this reference to my name, but have learned to tolerate as I’ve grown) saw the world through many prisms. He was a devout catholic, a savvy businessman, a stride piano player, and keeper of family secrets. One of his favorite TV Shows was Sanford and Son. In many ways I was Lamonte. Helping him salvage junk from Fulton area of Richmond.
I lived with him as a college student. I know I was stranger when I first moved in with him but became his confidant. I watched as he provided haircuts to white men who had known him for years. Some of them thought he was white. The odd looks during some of the sessions were purely ironic. As they often tried to get him to agree with him on issues of the day. Secretly, he tolerated them because they provided him the means and the way to operate in a white world as a Black businessman.
My grandfather would have been star struck by a black man on the verge of being a president. This man once told me the story of the sculpture of George Washington on the statehouse grounds. The construction crew was asked which way Washington should point. A stately white politician said, "to the south where the darkies should go." It was a reference to the state song which had overt racial references.
He like many older folks are amazed at this race. I've recently been tagged with this so Jones' Generation. For those who are unfamiliar to this reference it described as people who are caught between the Boomer Generation and the Generation X. The suggestion is the tag is for people born in 1961 (I believe they are a little older). Many of this group are many of the pundits you see on television. They are smart, politically savvy, and are at the top of their game.
I also believe they have live out the lives through the backdrop of songs including The Temptations, "Don't let the Jones Get you Down; and Billy Paul's, Me and Mrs. Jones. The Jones are supposed to be what you want to be and this demographic has flexed its muscle.
As I await the results I'm certain of one thing you can't predict this race. Black voters are energized. Let's find if they have the ability to pull it off.
Labels: Election Day