Senior citizens divided on candidates

Louis Esposito, 75, may hold onto his complementary potholder and sponge embellished with the names of Democrats Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Bob Megna, but he is still not convinced by the Democratic candidate for today’s presidential election, Sen. Barack Obama.

“I just feel like, ‘Who cares?’ ” said Esposito, a native of Wooster Square. “You can never change politics — they’re all just a bunch of crooks.”

Esposito was one of approximately 170 senior citizens who attended Democratic Party Rally at Bella Vista Senior Living Center Sunday night, where DeLauro, Megna, Rep. Martin Looney and Mayor John DeStefano Jr. were all in attendance. Most of the Bella Vista residents who attended the rally were ardent supporters of Obama, but a few said they were still undecided, citing his youth and calls for change as cause for concern.

Esposito and his female friend, who declined to give her name, said neither Obama nor Sen. John McCain have particularly inspired them as a presidential candidate. They have been around the block a few times — they are both 75 years old — and it seems to them that nothing ever really changes when it comes to politics, they said.

Taxes will still be high and government will still be corrupt no matter who is in charge, they said.

On the opposite end of the spectrum lay Fannie Brooks, 70, who said she could not be a more fervent supporter of Obama. Brooks has worked for 21 years in the Berkeley College dining hall, and she has worked as a community activist in New Haven since she was 18, she said. Obama’s victory in Tuesday’s election would bring about real change in the community — lower taxes and better education for young people in the black community, she said.

Plus, she said, it is high time that America sees a black president.

“I’m 70 years old, and I never used to think this could happen,” Brooks said. “But now it’s our time, and I’m proud to see it happen.”

Another 75-year-old resident of Bella Vista agreed with Brooks, though he declined to give a name other than “C.K.” He maintained that Obama is “very smart, very educated” and will help bring more job opportunities to low-income communities such as New Haven and Harlem, the neighborhood where C.K. grew up.

But while C.K. is hopeful that Obama will win the election, he said he worries about the segment of older white voters who say they will be voting Democrat, but in actuality are not ready for a black president — the so-called “Bradley effect.”

It takes a lot to change people, he said, and it is impossible to say how much change will occur until the polls close at 7 p.m.

“When you get to that booth,” C.K. said, “you don’t know who’s picking who.”

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