Veola Carter is an OffTheBus grassroots correspondent. Each week she contributes a campaign journal documenting her life out on the trail.
While, canvassing for undecided and Independent voters in Greenville, SC - once known as the "Textile Center of the World" - I attempted to imagine, what the process of transforming raw cotton into cloth entailed.
Combing and weaving through the tiny neighborhood---I walked down the winding and narrow streets of the "mill village." I enjoyed the warm fall breeze, gently, brushing against my face. I began to wonder---What was it like, living life here many decades ago? When the textile mills were operating at full capacity. From what I've been told---Each "mill village" was a world of its own. There were stores, schools, a church and the textile mill for employment.
Approaching, an old run-down house (with hardly any exterior paint on it)---My mind shifted to the conversation that was about to take place. Walking, cautiously, up the cinder blocks that were stacked in front of the porch---I reached the torn screen door. Knocking lightly---I could here the voice of an elderly sounding person in the background.
A tall and slender elderly black man opened the torn screen door. I greeted him saying..."Good afternoon, sir!" He nodded his head without muttering a word. I introduced myself and explained the reason for my visit to him. Without changing the position of his stance or the expression on his face---The elderly man told me:
"I'm not planning to vote and I don't intend to vote. That black boy that's running, so the white man can just kill him---is crazy! That old sneaky, untruthful white man and slutty white woman---can't be trusted. They will put who they want in there, anyway. That black boy and those old white folks---can't fix this mess, anyhow. That no good Bush has made it too bad for everybody. So, you tell me---Why should I waist my time voting?"
My attempts to give this man some understanding of the importance of his voice as a voter, were heard with 'deaf' ears. He was the first, of several people, who thought that their vote would not matter or by voting for Obama---They were putting his life in their own hands. As one woman (the next door neighbor of the first elderly man) told me without a stutter:
"We Black folks have shed enough blood and far too many tears, already, fighting to be treated like we're supposed to treated. Just, let the white man have his damned old 'White' House."
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