Campaign brings the Towson I've always wanted

HAVING YOUR SAY

Having Your Say

November 17, 2008|By Fee Hughes

Not so long ago, Towson was a place that mirrored this year's Republican National Convention: tons of WASPs, miles of blonds and a door prize for spotting a minority of any sort. Obama for America headquarters came to 40 W. Chesapeake Ave. in late September. Here's what happened at the front desk:

A diminutive, 82-year-old, Israeli-American grandmother came in to do whatever was asked of her and said she was worried about making phone calls as people might have trouble with her accent. My response was: "Please let me introduce you to the gentlemen who are originally from Trinidad-Tobago and Nigeria."

Two Brits from opposite sides of the political spectrum traveled all the way to the U.S. just to witness this election. Off they went with Rob, an organizer for Democratic congressional candidate Frank M. Kratovil Jr., their Burberry rain gear pockets stuffed with leaflets. Simon and Neville returned another day to work the phones for Mr. Kratovil.

We needed a truck to move furniture to additional donated office space. In came Ida, originally from North Carolina. She mentioned she was a school bus driver and wished she could just take the bus to drive people to the polls. It turned out Ida owns a dump truck. In seconds, she called her husband on their farm in Glen Arm, asked him to check out the cleanliness of the truck, and said she'd be coming to pick it up. An hour later, Jason, one of our leaders, asked two men who were making phone calls if they'd mind moving furniture for an hour or so. Each leaped out of his chair and rushed into the pouring rain to meet Ida and her dump truck.

A young woman from Baltimore called for directions to Towson. She had never been to Towson and was coming with two friends. They got lost twice and called back for more directions. After they finished their shift, they were going to the famous mall they'd heard about but never visited.

Kofi is originally from Ghana. He was astonished to learn that I, a white woman from Baltimore born on a Friday, have been to Ghana. My name, "Fee," is a nickname in Ashanti for a child born on Friday. It turns out Kofi is another nickname for a child born on Friday. We bonded.

I've felt an edge from black women for 40 years. I've understood where it came from and accepted it. This time, this amazing election, the wall was not there. I felt the difference every single day. The unity at Towson headquarters was evidence of what Barack Obama has already done for our country. With his grasp of cultures, religions, races and societal differences, he will restore respect for the United States in the world. He gets it. And Towson has never looked better to me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Fee Hughes is a writer who lives in Cockeysville.

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