Sam Harrelson

What a Blue NC Means for Berkely, or My Reply to Dave Winer

Here’s my reply to this post from Dave Winer (particularly the comment thread):

“I’m a white middle-class male who lives in Asheville, NC. I’m also a web marketing consultant that follows the techmeme world pretty closesly, so I get to travel out to the promiseld land of the Valley and NYC quite often.

I’m also a progressive. I also grew up in redneck-ville, SC. And I’m now a seminarian at a podunk little Baptist school near Charlotte, NC.

Next week, a group of 10 of us are taking off from seminary and heading to Charleston, SC (home of the first Synagogue in this hemisphere), Florida and DC to meet with rabbis and attend services in the hopes of finding more common ground on the question of Jewish-Christian relations. Baptists (particularly from the South) have a rocky relationship with Jews (as you know) bc of the bone headedness of the Southern Baptist Convention (of which we nor our seminary are a part), so there needs to be dialogue there. We’re trying to show another face of Baptists from this area. And the 10 of us aren’t alone down here in redneck-ville.

For the past 8 months, I’ve been working on the ground here in NC to get Obama through the primaries and now in the general election. I’m the vice-chair of our precinct and there’s so much excitement about Obama both here in Asheville (where he spent 4 days doing pre-debate prep and held a rally on Sunday that drew 22,000 in a town of around 70,000) and NC in general. After we return from our trip, I’ll be working non-stop doing last min voter registrations, canvassing neighborhoods and going door to door to get out the vote. And I’m not alone.

My point is that I’ve been a reader, listener and subscriber of yours for years (and agree with you 90% of the time) and this post makes me especially sad considering we are on the verge of seeing NC go Blue in just a couple of weeks. The enormity of that shift is incredibly important for my 1 year old daughter that will thankfully grow up never knowing a President Dubya but will certainly be charged with cleaning up his messes. The enormity of that shift (along with a potential Blue VA and shifting demographics in places like Columbia, SC) will change American politics as “the South” will no longer be safely Red in the coming years.

As a self professed Obama supporter, I’m shocked that you and the other commentors here would pre-judge an entire region of our country, where a number of people (even us religious folk) are working to cause change in the trenches (both for Obama and for better religious dialogue).

When Obama is elected because of a blue NC and Berkely erupts with celebration and “job well done” self lauding, don’t forget out us down here in the South. We will have worked hard for that change, and we will continue to be working hard for change everyday.

Now back to clinging to my guns, religion and Bible-

Perhaps I’ve been reading too much from another Berkely resident, John Elliott, who is doing work on the ground.

Posted: 10.09.2008

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