CCPM stalwart John Grant joined a group protesting at John McCain’s visit to PA the other day. The article below appeared in the Norristown Times-Herald. John is actually happy about the coverage; for the first time in a long time, an anti-war spokesperson isn’t taken out of context and made to look more radical than he is. Weee!!!!!
By: MARGARET GIBBONS, Times Herald Staff
WHITEMARSH – Monday morning visited Montgomery County to meet privately with small businessmen and tour a business headed by a major county GOP fundraiser and contributor.
In the absence of prior publicity, only two spectators – anti-war protesters from Plymouth Meeting – were on hand when McCain, accompanied by his wife Cindy, and their motorcade arrived in front of the National Label Co. on Joshua Road in the Lafayette Hill section of the township.
However, by the time the 90-minute visit ended, more than two dozen protesters, many of whom were union members, as well as a handful of spectators, were there – kept across the street by police and U.S. – to view the departing couple.
Amid hoots from union members and chants from supporters of presumptive Barack Obama, McCain waved and then gave the thumbs-up sign with both hands before entering a sports utility vehicle.
Press coverage was limited to pre-selected “pool” members for the tour and brief remarks by McCain at the conclusion of the tour and no press was allowed when McCain met with small business owners.
As a result, anti-war protesters John Grant and Lou Ann Merkle, a married couple from Plymouth Meeting, attracted a crowd of reporters and cameramen standing outside of the National Label Co., which was draped in an oversized American flag.
Ironically, as two hawks twice circled over National Label that had McCain election signs up and down its Joshua Road frontage, the couple voiced their displeasure with McCain’s support for the .
“I think he needs to know that the situation in Iraq has to be addressed seriously,” said Grant, a Vietnam veteran and a member of the Philadelphia Area Chapter 31 of Veterans for Peace.
“The war is over and now we are just an occupation force,” said Grant. “We need a different approach. We should be talking to ratchet things down, not sending over more troops.”
“While I respect and honor him for the agony he went through as a prisoner of war, we need a president who is smart and understands the world,” said Grant. “It concerns me that he does not seem to know the Muslims and does not have a better grasp of the geography over there.”
“We are just doing our democratic bit here,” said Grant.
Merkle said she has opposed the war from the outset, claiming the real reason for the conflict was not to fight terrorism but to secure that country’s oil resources.
“The human cost of this war, for American soldiers and their families and the Iraqis and the financial costs, with us just pouring our wealth into this unjust war cannot continue,” said Merkle.
The couple was joined in their McCain watch some 20 minutes later by about 15 gold T-shirt-wearing members of Local 1776 of the United Food and Commercial Workers.
“His (McCain’s) insistence on following through with policies consistent with the George Bush administration show a great insensitivity to working people and a total disregard for working families,” said union spokesman John Meyerson.
For example, Meyerson said, McCain supports the taxing of employer-provided health care as income. He said the union, which already has endorsed Obama, also opposes McCain’s positions on trade and .
Amy Neering and Phlebe Cornog, a mother and daughter from Whitemarsh, sported signs opposing the war and supporting Obama.
Nearby residents also came out with cameras in hand to record McCain’s visit to their neighborhood.
James H. Shacklett III is the chief executive officer of the family-owned National Label Co. Shacklett is well-known in Montgomery County GOP circles as a fundraiser and a major contributor to area GOP campaigns.
Margaret Gibbons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or .