SCRANTON, 8.07pm – Luis and I rolled into Scranton, Pennsylvania last night and walked straight into the a surprisingly politically diverse bar at the Veterans of Foreign Wars club in Clarks Summit, ten minutes outside of the Electric City.
Some of the VFW regulars are undecided. Of the three people I interviewed, each had a personal connection to their decision.
Robin Ennis is a 35-year-old unemployed cook who lives in Clarks Summit and was a member of the Navy, serving two tours in the Mediterannean.
He hasn’t spoken to his sister, a member of the Air Force, in almost three years. Why? Because she married a fellow Air Force Member who is black. They live in Washington D.C. and have three children.
Ennis has never voted, but this year he says he will. He’s voting for Obama.
“All my life I’ve been anti-black. I’m not racist, but I’m prejudiced,” says Ennis. “I’m not saying whites are bad, or blacks are bad, but you stick with your color. I believe what I believe,” he says.
Ennis is a staunch supporter of Obama and come November 4, will be casting the first vote of his life in Obama’s favor.
“I believe in every way that John McCain is very pro-Bush junior. I don’t like that,” he says. “He is for war, and I don’t like that. I believe a country should take care of its own.”
Ennis is enthusiastic about Obama and his ability to unite the country.
“I don’t watch the news because it brings me down, but when I see him on TV, it stimulates me,” says Ennis. “My biggest thing that made me want to vote for Obama is that stature [he showed], to go and visit his ailing grandmother while campaigning – that shows character to me – to lose two days.”
But Ennis admits that his vote is also about family ties. He says he loves his sister, but he does not feel he can talk to her because he believes she did the wrong thing by marrying outside of her race.
“It’s a way of me reconciling with her. I want Obama in the White House, and I want him to thrive,” he says.
Gary Grochocki, a businessman from Scranton, is undecided, but is leaning towards McCain because he feels he cares more about small businesses. His girlfriend, Donna Hawke, has already decided she’s voting for Obama. She spends a lot of time trying to convince Grochocki that Obama is the right choice.
Listen to small business owner Gary Grochocki and his girlfriend, a loss prevention director, Donna Hawke, argue about the upcoming elections. Donna is a committed Obama voter and is apalled that Gary is an undecided Independent.
People here are very divided on issues of race, abortion, gun ownership, and the best way to deal with the failing economy.
– By JACKIE BISCHOF