The Shame Of Johnstown

by dday

As we head into the home stretch of the election, the disturbing examples of racism has risen. But for me, this one is personal:

My mother is from Johnstown. My grandmother and my aunt still live there. I spent many weeks and months there as a kid. The people in this video are people with whom I have probably eaten in the same restaurants, shopped in the same stores, walked down the same streets. They are working people who haven't had much economic opportunity in their Western Pennsylvania steel town in their lives. To see the racism somewhere that you have spent time is much more impactful. I always knew it was in the background, and I must admit that I've seen it at times in my own family. But a video like this with its countless examples is depressing.

I'm not concerned about Pennsylvania - the leaps forward in voter registration will make a difference. And both of my Pennsylvania resident grandmothers are voting for Obama. Neither were on board but I managed to convince them. But as we've been saying here for a while, the election is merely a part of the fight - then there's governing. And the poison that has been injected into the discourse is going to be a strong deterrent.

But of course, it's no different than the demonization of liberals and Democrats that has been a hallmark of the Republican noise machine for decades. One of the best ways to combat this is to reveal it - to create moments of recognition, moments of shame, moments of revulsion. Johnstown needs to know about Johnstown.

...I should add that this doesn't appear to be the prevailing opinion.