Opinion: Local Politics Make me Sick

In Uncategorized on October 30, 2008 at 2:37 am

My friends always tell me how much “Mayfair sucks” and how “crappy looking it is.” Having lived in this neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia for the first twenty-one years of my life, I was proud of the area, especially since I lived right at the heart of it, behind the Mayfair Diner on Frankford Avenue. It was at this diner where I met President Bill Clinton in 1996, during his second run for President. This shows how important Mayfair truly is.

Unfortunately, last year, I had to make the move away from my beloved neighborhood and into Montgomery County with my parents. Still, this did not stop me from going back to Mayfair to ask about people’s political views. With the upcoming historic election, I wanted to understand how people in my old neighborhood thought about what they wanted to happen this November. Little did I know that, while I have no political affiliation, what I would hear and also what I would read about would upset me dearly.

According to a September 3, 2008 article by Catherine Lucey of the Philadelphia Daily News entitled “N.E. Phila: Key to McCain Pa. Victory?”, Mayfair is “…a white working-class neighborhood of attached brick houses and modest commercial strips in Northeast Philadelphia, where Republicans aren’t an endangered species, Democrats can swing any which way and Obama has his work cut out for him.” This is somewhat inaccurate as, year by year, white people move out and a minority moves in. For example, an immigrant Asian family bought my old house.

After going back to Mayfair and hearing some of the things I did, I agree that Obama has his work cut out for him. When I heard that Sen. Joe Biden would be visiting another local diner right next to Mayfair, I knew I had to go eat there that day. What I heard about and what Dave Davies of the Daily News reported made me sick. Eighty-nine year old Carolyn Bauer was quoted as saying (to Biden), “I told him I’m not going to vote for him… Anybody who runs with a guy with a name like that is not going to get my vote. It’d be disgusting to get a man named Barack Obama as president of the United States. No way. I mean it . . . I’m going to vote for McCain and the lady.”

Those last two words are the ones that make me laugh and cry at the same time. Mrs. Bauer does not even know the name of the Republican vice presidential candidate. This does not make me very proud of the old neighborhood. Should Ms. Bauer even be allowed to vote? Clearly she does not know what she is talking about.

With regards to how well McCain will do, political analyst Larry Ceisler stated on, “I think McCain will do well up there… The problem in some of these places, Obama’s message is change, and people in these places don’t want a change.” This makes Mayfair sound way too old fashioned for my liking.

In a quick question and answer session with Bridget McGeehan, a former schoolmate of mine and niece of Pennsylvania State Representative Mike McGeehan (who fights for Mayfair as well as its surrounding areas), I tried to get a youthful approach to things to balance out the elderly Ms. Bauer: “I am too busy to concern myself with who will win. It’s not like my vote even matters. It would be irresponsible of me to even vote, because I would probably just vote for Obama because of his skin color, just to have something different.”

Obviously my generation seems to be lacking the right state of mind in order to give a solid response. Once again, my beloved Mayfair has come off like a slum of the city. In another non-answer in Lucey’s article, Democrat George Scaricamazza stated, “I’m voting for McCain because Obama is all b.s…. He’s not qualified for nothing.” Also according to her article, Annette Blumenthal, of Pennypack (an area/park in and around Mayfair and all over the Northeast), decided to support McCain because of the race issue, “He’s a smart guy, he’s looks very educated, he has a beautiful wife… I just think the world’s not ready for a black president.”

It is quotes like these that make me a bit ashamed to have come from Mayfair. When Obama came to visit the Mayfair Diner on October 11, the crowd was predominately black and other minorities. If Paris Hilton was running against Obama, would people vote for her because she is white?

Most of the people quoted were of a much older age. They truly represent that Mayfair is old fashioned-I just never knew it before. Perhaps the people in the 55 and older community I reside in now will have a different view on the issues of race, sex, and other topics come November, when it is time to actually vote.


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