Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Obama is Wasting His Time

A black man campaigning in Indiana brings an old cliche to mind: tamping sand up a downspout. It's a fruitless endeavor and would have been even before that publicity seeking preacher came along.
It is amusing to hear the pundits talking about a close race in the Hoosier State. They don't know Indiana, the place where I was born and spent twenty years working for a newspaper. At the same time I was writing a daily column for the old Muncie Evening Press, I wrote a travel column called "The Wandering Hoosier" on my own time. It ran in many newspapers. We roamed the highways and byways of the state with Jackie taking pictures while I took notes.
So Indiana has a warm place in my heart. It is, however, a state where racial prejudice abounds. It is a state with rich soil where corn, soybeans and tomatoes thrive. It is also a Rust Belt state once rich in industry, much of which has departed. There are dozens of small towns surrounded by farm fields and a number of larger cities that at one time played a key role in the automotive industry. Neither offer hope for a black candidate.
Hoosiers are tolerant of blacks as long as they wear an Indiana University basketball uniform or one of the professional Pacers. Beyond that, every small town has its tolerant, progressive thinkers. For each of them there are a dozen people who see themselves as good, church-going citizens but vote only for people who look exactly the way they look. The same is true of the majority of blue collar voters in the larger cities.
Much of Indiana was settled from south to north rather than east to west. The newcomers brought their prejudices with them and many have been passed down from generation to generation. During the Civil War the state contained a great many Southern sympathizers known as Copperheads.
Indiana is not a state with a wealth of college graduates. Athough it has many colleges and universities it, like Ohio, offers a minimum of opportunity so it suffers from that ailment known as brain drain.
When I first went to work for the paper in Muncie I was handed the assignment no one else wanted, the "do-gooder" beat. Along with social agencies and such it included everything to do with race relations at a time when it was a hot topic. I was accepted in the black community because I never slanted stories either for or against its members. That was all they wanted, fair and equal treatment. They got it from me but not from the many whites in positions of authority who felt I had been duped. That was because I pointed out that the people they felt were responsible for all the problems actually were the solution to them if given a chance. That chance wasn't forthcoming.
Barack Obama will pick up votes in the Calumet Region, that area bordering on Chicago. He will in other places, too, but not in great numbers. If he doesn't lose by at least ten points I'll be the most surprised man around. Too bad, but that's just the way it is - and not only in Indiana.


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