Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Black and Voting

John, a small unassuming gentleman who is retired, lives on the near east side. He is a bit shy, impeccably polite, and always has a pleasant smile. One of John's friends (he has a lot of them) is Kathryn. She planned on voting and in several conversations with John she learned of his desire to vote. John had watched the ads, listened to debates, and liked what B. Obama had to say. On February 19, Kathryn offered to help John through the process of registering and voting. John didn't want to go. She coaxed him for a couple of hours and wouldn't take no for and answer. John finally gave in and got his coat on. They took bus (#1) to Winnebago St and walked several blocks west to Washington School. John was very apprehensive about voting. He lived a considerable part of his life in Milwaukee. The scars of a lifetime of predjudice became very evident to Kathryn as the afternoon wore on. He was terrified of voting due to some bad experiences much earlier in his life. He was very afraid and hesitant when entering the voting place but got through the registration and voting process without a hitch. When leaving John began to get extremely short of breath (he is not well and has been in the hospital several times of late). Kathryn asked a stranger if they would be kind enough to take John home. The good samaritan did.

Kathryn told me that this was the second time that John had ever voted.

Good for John. Thank you Kathryn. Kathryn, who is white, learned a lot about the current state of the black population in Oshkosh today. I did too. Did you?


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