Saturday, October 25, 2008

Trent The Musician from Ohio for Obama

As another antidote to the repulsive "Joe The Plumber from Ohio" gambit on the part of the McCain campaign, I bring you Trent The Musician (and bookstore worker) from Ohio. I'm working on a little series here about all of the smart, working-class or lower-middle-class non-black people I know in Ohio from playing music there throughout much of the 1990s. I have been asking them what they think is really going on with Ohio voters like themselves.

Confluence City: Tell me a bit about the town in Ohio where you grew up in the city in Ohio where you live. When you bid them up, what do you say? When you dog them out, what do you say?

Trent Arnold: I grew up in Killbuck Ohio. A small town where the population hovers somewhere between 800 and 900 people. It's a beautiful area surrounded by green rolling hills and it was a great place to be a kid. I don't think I could live there now but only because I'm used to the amenities of the city. I can't really say anything bad about it except for the usual small town stuff. Everyone knows everyone else's business, etc.

I live in Columbus, Ohio right now. A good city to live in, I think. It has the conveniences of a city with a small town feel. My friends who live in small towns would probably disagree with that though. It has a healthy arts scene and a healthy business world. My only criticism would be that it has an identity crisis, it wants to be a major player in the big city world and it's just never going to be a Chicago.

Confluence City: I know you as a musician, but what do you do for money, honey? How would you place yourself, socioeconomically?

Trent Arnold: I work at Borders Book Store. I'm the Merchandising Supervisor. I would like to think that I'm middle class but I don't know if that's true. Maybe upper lower class.

Confluence City: Lifelong Democrat? Tell me a bit about voting and you.

Trent Arnold: I didn't really become politically aware until my first child was on the way. That will make you sit up and take look at what's going on around you. Since then I have been a Democrat. The first Presidential Election I voted in was Clinton's first term. I try not to vote strictly down party lines but it always ends up working that way. The Democrats speak to me, the Republicans don't.

Confluence City: What are the temperature and tenor (mixing metaphors here) of the political talk in your friendship circle(s) these days?

Trent Arnold: It's very hopeful. Everyone feels that there is a very good chance that Obama will be the next President. Everyone is also tired of hearing McCain/Palin talk about what Obama has said and done instead of what they can do for the country.

Confluence City: When did you decide Obama was your candidate? Why?

Trent Arnold: I decided Obama was my man very early. When all the Democratic hopefuls were trying to get the nomination. At first I didn't really know anything about him but his charisma drew me in. His lack of experience did not and still does not scare me a bit. I think he can be a strong and confident leader. I like what he has to say about the economy, foreign policy etc. Also, once again, that he is very charismatic. I don't care what anyone says I think that is an important trait for a leader to have.

Confluence City: Do you know of anyone who fell for Sarah Palin - who switched their loyalty to McCain - after she was announced as VP? If so, do you know any of those who switched back?

Trent Arnold: I don't know anyone who fell for Palin. As a matter of fact I think it had the opposite effect. I think that a lot of women who supported Clinton and didn't know who they were going to vote for saw right through that move.

Confluence City: Have you done anything to help Obama win? Will you do anything more other than vote for him?

Trent Arnold: I'm ashamed to say that I haven't done anything to help Obama win other than convince people that it's agood idea to vote for him. I'm very proud to say though, that my 15 year old daughter Clancey, has done some volunteer work for the Obama campaign. She has made phone calls and helped make signs among other things.

Confluence City: What's next for you if Obama loses? If he wins?

Trent Arnold: I don't really know what's next either way, but I don't even want to think about an Obama loss!


The photo of Trent and his Obama activist daughter Clancey is by me, from a few years ago, when I stopped by Columbus and stayed with the Arnolds (as always) when driving from New to St. Louis for my move back home. Trent has played in many great bands from Columbus and previously holds down the bass for Whoa Nellie, fronted by Bob Starker, who also gave me a Bob The Musician interview about Obama (collect them all!).

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