Tennessee Needs That Beacon In A Sea of Red

An Obama campaign banner and American flag fly outside Tom's studio in Loudon, Tennesee.

The Obama banner hanging outside Tom’s studio in Loudon, Tennessee caught the eye of blogger David Ettlin,who stopped to chat and later wrote about the visit in The Real Muck:

There wasn’t much – the depressed town only recently received a grant of $2 million to boost a renewal of its ghostly downtown that is just underway.

But it had a Democratic headquarters, up a tall wooden stairway around the corner from a closed ice cream parlor. The side wall of the building was decorated with an assortment of Obama posters facing passing traffic along Route 11 through town.

Presiding over the office was artist Tom Roberts, a Knoxville native who lived up north for awhile but has resettled in Loudon and invested in real estate. He owns that building where he is turning the Obama office space into a residence (with a beautiful century-old wooden-plank floor).

“It’s a pleasure to own this building and put up all these Obama signs – a beacon in a Sea of Red, said Roberts, who estimated area voter registration as 80 percent Republican.

I’d been wearing Bonnie’s Obama button since the beginning of our trip almost two weeks ago, so we bought three more buttons to update our political wardrobe.

Roberts led us on a walking tour of the town, including its oldest building – once owned by a Cherokee Indian who operated a general store until being forced out on the grounds that Native Americans were not allowed to own real estate.

As we headed back to the car, Roberts pointed out his favorite sign on his building. It reads:

Bluegrass Legend
Ralph Stanley
Barack Obama

After Tom’s hospitality, the blogger ventured into a Sons of Confederate Veterans’ flea market. Read more.

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