Reason, Liberty, & Culture

Obama Protest Bristol, VA

The Barack Obama Change Show Comes to Bristol, VA

by Lewis Loflin

"This is real redneck, sort of, bordering on Appalachia country. This is not the Northern Virginia, you know, sort of high-tech corridor. And these are voters that he would not logically be, you know, gravitating to. This is the beginning of a pivot."

This nonsense was spouted June 5, 2008 by an intoxicated and giggly Obama supporter Andrea Mitchell, who later apologized. This created a storm of controversy in itself, but much of what really went on wasn't reported by the Obama intoxicated press is more troubling. With a candidate as unknown as Senator Obama, we better pay attention. As one that attended this rally (no it wasn't a town hall meeting as advertised), here is what really happened.

"Obama Campaign Snubbed Bristol, VA., Leaders For Visit Prep" to quote the Bristol Herald Courier on June 5. Obama chose Bristol to try and "mend fences" with a population both he and his far-left followers consider little more than gun-toting, Bible-thumping racists. The white working class. But even before he arrived, that contempt came into play. His cronies made sure none of those people got near him. To quote the press,

Long before Barack Obama arrives in Bristol today, his advance team stepped on the toes of some city officials. The city, which is hosting the town hall meeting inside Virginia High School and providing police, fire and emergency medical personnel to staff it, has largely been left out of the loop on planning the hastily arranged event, City Manager Bill Dennison said "There are any number of things we could have done to assist with this," Dennison said. "But they [campaign advance team] did not see fit to request our assistance or inform anyone - other than [VHS principal] Ina Danko. Most of what I know about this, I learned from the news media."

I'll have more on Mrs. Ina Danko and Virginia High School where this circus took place.

Dennison didn't find out anything until the press did, and was never asked about anything. The Obama gang merely barged in and took over the City police force and school system. They never notified City officials that the street in front of the Virginia High School gym entrance (Long Crescent) would be closed during the event. The City never had a chance to rearrange its bus schedules, to help the elderly and handicapped have better access to the event, or anything else. They were expected to foot the overtime and other costs for the show. I have no doubt Bristol officials would have been glad to help, the police state tactics are troubling.

To quote Dennison, "We would have done it. But to have a third party calling to use our officers on overtime was a mistake...I told the Secret Service that the chain of command starts at the top. The event puts the spotlight on the city and gives people a chance to meet one of the candidates, which are good things. But it certainly could have been handled better from the standpoint of local participation." The press claimed all 2000 tickets were given out by 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, but that is not what I was told by people I interviewed at the rally. Several mentioned some "list" (registered Democrats I suppose) and I was told by police only "invited" guests were allowed on school property. It's apparent this was never open to the general public to begin with.
Virginia High School Bristol, VA
Virginia High School. The flagpole is off to the left outside of the picture,
most of the activity took place where the school bus is parked.

Part of reason for all the secrecy was to stop any protestors from showing up. Four of us did. One included an Iraqi war veteran, another had a daughter in Iraq as the highest ranking woman brigade commander. I'm also a veteran. Several of Obama's followers referred to us as "fuc*** white trash" as others were taken aback by the apparent hatred within their own ranks. Several gave us a thumbs up for free speech, but when asked just what change Obama represented, grew mute. I asked one lady, "Why are you voting for Mr. Obama?" She answered (wouldn't give her name), "We can prove that America isn't racist and will elect a black man." She was white by the way, about 35.

I was dumbfounded by this. What have I been missing through this entire election cycle? I knew the liberal-left held a lot of anti-white racist' views, but voting for someone out of guilt for something they never could have done? This woman couldn't have anything to segregation. At 51 I've never seen segregated restrooms or anything else. I feel no guilt about it because I never had anything to do with it. Nobody people under 60 was part of that, and most people older weren't either. Yet it's those her age and younger that are planning to vote for Obama in droves as redemption for something they never did?

Barack Obama has never faced segregation. He went to private schools, grew up with money, had access to opportunities and colleges the average working class white would never have. And we are supposed to feel guilty and vote for him because of it? Whites are not responsible for the massive amount of black crime, their drug use, or their inability to pass the grade in schools they share with white students taking the same classes. To quote A Bound Man, by Shelby Steele, p.116-117 Dec 4, 2007:

The first binding reality for Obama is that his cachet is tied to his status as an iconic Negro. The disciplines of bargaining are a basic element of Obama's policies. He labors to sell himself as an "optimistic sign from the racial front," as a harbinger of a new America in which the old divisions of race are transcended. As one fan put it at a recent rally, he is "the guy America is waiting for." So, you don't vote for Obama because of his policy positions on health care and school subsidies; he is an opportunity to vote for American redemption...on his ability to offer innocence to whites...

I have no intention of voting for or against Obama because he is black. In my opinion he is a white liberal that happens to have a black father. I don't believe in any token "Negro," but as the immortal Martin Luther King said, to judge a man by his character, not the color of his skin. See Rapper "Birdman" Arrested, and Black Crime in Kingsport

Some of the police were clearly agitated, others rather cheerful. The state police were calm and professional, but some of the Bristol police were almost abusive. Not only were we warned the only place we were allowed (while standing on a public street) was the flag pole on the other side of the school and if we stepped on school or private property would face arrest.

Never mind the police and Obama supporters were doing just that. When we did find a small patch of public property across from the entrance for the public entry of the Obama fans, we were accosted with demands to produce ID. The officer backed off after I gave my name. He knew just who I was and they left us alone after that. No Obama supporter was ever accosted by police or asked anything.

Congressman Rick Boucher and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner also attended the show. To quote the press,

U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, a Democrat who represents Southwest Virginia's 9th District, told 2,500 Obama supporters in the gymnasium of Bristol's Virginia High School. "I remember the last time a nominee of a majority political party for the presidency visited Southwest Virginia," Boucher told the crowd. "I was there that day. I was about 12 years old. And it was in Roanoke in 1960 when our Democratic nominee for president, John F. Kennedy, spoke there. That was a great day. "We have waited nearly 50 years ..."

But that's not really true. President Bush came to Tri-Cities (which Bristol Virginia is part of) in the 2004 election and that was open to the public. He wasn't hiding from anyone. (I voted for Kerry by the way.) Congressman Boucher wasn't invited to the Bush rally and it seems didn't know it even happened.

The Obama Show was performed before a planned crowd and the questions and people asking them were clearly planted. The big deal was on health care in a region where the majority of people already get state-funded health care though welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, TennCare, and the nearby veterans hospital. Some of his sound bites included:

"Congress did what's good for the drug companies...We need a health care system instead of a disease care system. I don't think the American people can afford another four years...I'll allow the drug companies to have a seat at the table, but they just won't be able to buy every chair."

I like what I hear, but will he or can he keep these promises?

This strange mumbling from the press,

On being sleep deprived and having difficulty with an anecdote about children with asthma being treated in emergency rooms instead of getting cheap inhalers. But instead of inhaler, Obama said "Breathalyzer," then "inhalator," and finally "ventilator" before giving up: "You know what I mean," he said to laughter.

Obama was shielded from any real questions such as how to pay for all of his promises. Also he never addressed questions about the school he spoke at operated by his apparent supporters. It's one of the worst in the state.

Virginia High School

To quote the Virginia High School website, "Mrs. Ina Danko, principal at Virginia High School earned her B.S. and M.A. degrees from East Tennessee State University. Mrs. Danko worked 28 years in the Tennessee public schools before coming to Bristol, Virginia in 2001. Mrs. Danko is now in her 7th year at BVPS." Virginia High School stands out as an example of failure. To quote December 17, 2006,

'We're not satisfied' The graduation rate for Roanoke schools is 57 percent, fifth worst in the state, putting pressure on administrators to meet federal and state standards...The 2005-06 school year's graduation rate was 57 percent, the fifth worst in the state, after Cumberland County, Petersburg, Richmond and Bristol...

Bristol Virginia was right near the bottom in the state.

During the 2002-03 school year, 24 percent of Virginia High's 225 freshmen failed, one of the highest rates in Southwest Virginia. The year before that, 24 percent of the high school's 211 freshmen were retained. The press blamed it on not being accepted. to quote student, "I went to high school, and it seemed like everything got worse. If you don't fit in, you're not accepted. If they don't like the way you look, they tell you that you need to go change your clothes. I wouldn't go because of all the kids." It sounds like a discipline problem to me. Perhaps they should mandate uniforms and strict dress codes. Ref. BHC Aug 15, 2004.

On May 14, 2007 in the Bristol Herald Courier,

Bristol, VA. and Tenn. school officials said graduation rates released by an independent research group are probably wrong. Last week, school officials from both Bristol's reviewed graduation numbers from a report released by Maryland-based Editorial Projects in Education, which reported Tennessee High had a 63.2 percent graduate rate and Virginia High School posted 52.1 percent rate.

"That seems very, very low," Bristol Virginia Superintendent Doug Arnold told the Bristol Herald-Courier. "And in reality, I suspect it is." EPE, a non-profit research organization that publishes Education Week magazine, released the report Wednesday. The report shows graduation rates for every public high school across the nation. It also shows high school's enrollment, number of teachers, student-teacher ratio and more.
Graduation rate Bristol, VA

While Bristol, Virginia claims this is low, I suspect it and others are too high. I've examined the data myself and it's a mess. The The New York Times (March 20, 2008) in an article titled States' Data Obscure How Few Finish High School shows the data in most states is inflated. For more on this visit Virginia High is also on the bottom in the Tri-Cities region. Here are some of the other area 2006 graduation rates according to the group's report:

Sullivan County schools - 63.7
Washington County, Tenn. - 71.1
Washington Co. VA. - 84.6
Kingsport - 69.9
Johnson City - 76.2
Wise VA - 73.2
Scott Co. VA. - 73.7

Visit the Virginia High School website. As I understand, Mrs. Danko is supposed to be retiring. To quote the Bristol Herald Courier May 12, 2008,

New Virginia High principal targets graduation rates Martin Ringstaff, principal of Dan River High School near Danville, VA., was selected Monday as the next principal of Virginia High School...Among his goals, Ringstaff said he wants to examine Virginia High's rates for dropouts, attendance and graduation. "I think the graduation rate needs some attention. We need to see what's going on there," Ringstaff said...

What they failed to note is Virginia High School is close to the Bristol, Virginia public housing and all of its problems, and this crowd was not representative of most people in this region. Certainly not the white working class or black working class for that matter. These projects are something Obama never grew up in, he went to upper-class private schools. His children would never attend a school like Virginia High School in Chicago or elsewhere. They too attend private schools. Obama surrounds himself with wealthy white people, mostly on the far left. The same stupid people that produced public housing and failing schools like this one. But we should vote for him because he is black, according to one Bristol resident?

To quote Charles Murray,

The effects of inequality cannot be significantly reduced, let alone quelled, unless the government embarks on a compulsory redistribution of wealth that raises taxes astronomically and strictly controls personal enterprise. Some will call this social justice. Others will call it tyranny...

Is this what Obama means by "change?"

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