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Friday, April 11, 2008

Barry Welsh: What happened in Muncie

Barry posted the following diary this afternoon on Kos, and kindly asked that I cross-post it here as well. It is my pleasure to do so:

Yes, I got hit in the eye, but the real fight is for Democracy IN-06

First, I want to thank everybody in the Kos community and all of the Netroots Nation for the support and well wishes that have come my way because of this incident. I must give a HUGE personal thank you to sarahlane, pontio, bluestatemeant, JR, Daily Activist, Pioneer 111, along
with everyone for their comments, and the great folks at EENR and Democrats.com.

Now, the story that has not been told is what happened in that meeting. Everything has been overshadowed by the violence, and what took place in the meeting itself needs to come out.

The story is not dying locally as the attacker is in the Muncie paper today calling the attack an “attention getter”.

"It (the attack on Werner) wouldn't have happened if you hadn't promoted it," Statom said. "When you promote illegal activities, there's ramifications." He is blaming the newspaper! I feel the truth is, Statom was trying to stop the newspaper from reporting on what he said, and his tone in the meeting itself.

The meeting was called because the Republican County Chair of Delaware County told Ball State Students and supporters of Barack Obama, that the voter registrations they had turned in on time could not be counted and processed because of understaffing. The understaffing was because the Republican county chair had not appointed anyone to fill a vacancy since 2006! The Republican county chair was not at the meeting and sent a proxy who attempted to bully the process and argue semantics. I was at the meeting on requests from Ball Sate Students and African American activists who were concerned for their rights and the those that they had registered.

Mr. Statom, who launched the attack after the meeting, spoke during the meeting as well. Statom said the Ball State registrations should not be a concern because the students wouldn’t vote anyway. Then he focused on the African American community members in attendance and said, “I don’t have to sit here and listen to THESE people.” It was the way that the words came out and all in attendance knew what he was actually saying. I was so offended by his tone
and remarks that I spontaneously stood up along with many others in objection and disgust. Statom said the forms would probably all be sloppy and illegible and that this was a big to do over nothing.

For point of clarity, there were close to 2000 new registrations turned in on that last day alone, and 25 of them were Republican. Motive for inaction? You be the judge on that but I have my opinion and there is no doubt in my mind.

The registration forms need to be processed by April 15th to allow enough time to have the precinct voter files and voter ID books printed so there is a real and just time frame concern. I have been assured that all registrations will be processed on time, but I am going to be continuing to check on a daily basis to make certain.

The reporter that was attacked, Nick Wermer, called me this morning and he is doing ok. He told me that he didn’t remember much because it happened so fast and was a blur, but he remembered the determination on my face when I was trying to break the choke hold and he said Mike Pence may advocate shield laws for the press but Barry Welsh went to the floor for me and I won ’t forget that. He said I was a hero, and while that is heartwarming, I am not the hero. The heroes are those students and members of the African American community that spent all of that time bringing new people into the political process and I again thank all of them.

The republicans are scared here folks! They are now even scared of me. The guy that runs low budget, grass roots, people powered campaigns. We have raised some money from 5, 10, 20, and 100 dollar donors, and thank you to all of you that have made that happen. If you are reading this and can contribute the pre primary maximum of $2,300 dollars, please consider doing so. If 50 of you can contribute the maximum, and we raise $100,000 dollars this weekend over what happened, the fear will increase 100,000 times, and I think they deserve that! Here’s an Actblue link.

Here are links to previous diaries and also to media coverage, even Fox!



Tomorrow morning I am going to meet Senator Barack Obama in Muncie. I will try to get a diary up about that meeting and his event tomorrow afternoon.

I have taken much harder punches and may again, but never for a better cause than suppressed voter rights and freedom of the press. As Gandhi said, first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win. We have been ignored, and we have been laughed at, and the attacks and intimidation are under way, next step is victory in November and we can
and will do that.

Thanks again to all of you for all that you do.

Peace brothers and sisters,

Barry Welsh.

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Blogger Human said...

Barry Welsh - HOORAHHH!
With the easy challenge one can make at the polls(in Indiana) I fear that this is just the starting of taking away votes for Sen. Obama. If the younguns can get a Lawyer worth his/her Degree I smell Injunction.

title="comment permalink">April 11, 2008 4:57 PM  
Blogger Parson said...

Republicans must be getting worried that this election is going to be harder to rig they originally thought.

title="comment permalink">April 11, 2008 5:49 PM  
Blogger Dusty said...

OMFG..I am not familiar with this story..but first I would like to ask..why the hell is a republican handling a position like Voter Registration? Its a position that has nothing to do with party affliation..and should be against the law if party affiliation IS involved..

God, I know politics is a dirty business..but this crap takes the cake.

title="comment permalink">April 11, 2008 10:45 PM  
Blogger John Good said...

Human - This got lots of ink for Barry!

Parson - If ya can't rig 'em, sock 'em!

Dusty - Barry's running against MIKE PENCE. . .need I say more?

title="comment permalink">April 11, 2008 11:05 PM  

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