Thursday, October 16, 2008

Diversity Training

This is great.

The sign went up Sunday evening, bold black letters against the stark white background of the marquee at the Colony South Hotel Conference Center in Clinton: "Country First. McCain/Palin."

Sounds pretty provocative, no?

By daybreak, pandemonium had broken loose all across heavily Democratic Prince George's County. Many local supporters of Democrat Barack Obama, jolted by the message as they headed down Branch Avenue on their Monday morning commutes, grabbed cellphones and BlackBerrys to notify friends. Operators of neighborhood e-mail group lists cried foul to their memberships. The NAACP logged calls. Community leaders demanded boycotts of the hotel, a common venue for Democratic events.

It's pretty shocking, in a political campaign, to see a sign for the candidate you're not supporting.

The outcry over the hotel marquee tapped into the passion -- and sometimes anger -- that has characterized this fall's presidential campaign. Supporters of Republican candidate John McCain have vented their rage at rallies this week, applauding thunderously as McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, accused Obama of "palling around with terrorists."

Yes, it's been a passionate campaign. Usually, though, people maintain some perspective.

Prince George's, though, is clearly Obama Country. As the nation's wealthiest mostly black community, where about 77 percent of registered voters are Democrats, residents have Obama placards in their yards, bumper stickers on their cars and the candidate's visage on their T-shirts.

Ah, so their goal is to be delusional - and they want nothing to interfere with the fantasy that Republicans aren't part of the equation.

The marquee supporting the GOP ticket in "an area that is strongly African American was like putting a stink bomb in the middle of the living room," said University of Maryland political Professor Ron Walters. "What it does show is the emotions that are around this campaign and this election."

Aren't there at least some angry Hillary supporters in Clinton?

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