Maybe Perry County in Alabama should officially change their name to “We Drank the Kool Aid” County. The county’s ruling legislature has made the second Monday in November as Barack Obama Day. The county will be closing down that day and all of its workers get a day off WITH PAY:
Barack Obama’s election as president has generated a number of firsts. The latest may be the creation of a paid holiday in his honor in an Alabama Black Belt county.
At its most recent meeting, the Perry County Commission voted 4-1 to declare the second Monday in November “The Barack Obama Day.”
Commissioner Albert Turner Jr., who sponsored the resolution, said flags would be flown on the day and county offices would be closed. He said he hopes county schools also will decide to observe the holiday.
,,”We moved on that because of the historic nature of his election and the fact that this was a history-making event, having the first African descendent to be (elected) president of the United States,” Turner said.
The resolution also contains language to make it difficult, if not impossible, to overturn. It says the Obama Day “shall only be deleted from the county holiday calendar by a majority vote of all the members of the United States Congress, both House and Senate, and a unanimous vote of the Perry County Commission.”
Recalling the long-shot start to Obama’s campaign, Turner said the county holiday would give people faith and hope that difficult goals, “even when they look insurmountable,” can be achieved with hard work and perseverance.
Commissioner Tim Sanderson said the county has about 40 employees
A majority black county which is among the state’s poorest, Perry voted nearly 73 percent for Obama in the Nov. 4 election, the highest in the state. Only two other Black Belt counties, Macon and Greene, gave Obama a higher percentage, Turner said.
The county commission’s three black members and one of its two white members voted for the resolution. The commissioner who voted against the resolution, Brett Harrison, said he was not against celebrating Obama’s victory, but he did not want the economically pressed county to establish another paid holiday with the courthouse offices being closed, Turner said.
Efforts to reach Harrison, who has raised questions in the past about county spending priorities, were unsuccessful.
Sanderson called the resolution “a spur of the moment thing.” He also said that he said he wasn’t sure Obama, because of his mixed heritage, could be called an African-American. But he said voted for the measure because it might gain the county a receptive ear in the White House. ‘
“Like or dislike him, he’s my president, your president and he overcame a lot of odds to get that job,” Sanderson said. “And if it opens a door too, for me by doing this holiday thing, I think it will be well worth it.”
Turner said copies of the resolution have been mailed to Obama’s transition team and to president elect himself. He said he had contacted U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., whom he called a personal friend, to let Obama know the resolution was coming.