Today a gun and hardware store in Nederland, Texas confirmed that their sign read, “We are now closed on Saturday Thanks Obama.” A picture surfaced on facebook and at least several local Southeast Texans who recognized the store began to call for an explanation and share their conversations. Multiple sources had similar stories, they were told the economy was slow and the store could not afford to stay open on Saturday…and that it was Obama's fault.
My initial thought was that it was over Obamacare, and when I saw that they also sold guns thought could it be related to recent proposed gun legislation. But then I remembered headlines like, “Barack Obama, Gun Salesman of the Year” from Bloomberg and, “Anti-Gun Debate May Be Best Thing For Firearm Industry Since Obama's Election” from Forbes — and it just didn't make sense.
I called the store and identified myself as a reporter. After confirming the accuracy of the photo, I was told that both my theory on Obamacare and guns were wrong and someone from management would call if they had further comment. I'm not holding my breath for that phone call and Democrats may not want to hold theirs lest their faces turn blue long before Texas does. Just this month 3 elected officials from Jefferson County have switched parties from Democrat to Republican.
That represents a shift the area has seen over the last few election cycles. In the past the area has been pro-labor and reliably Democrat but never socially progressive. Still, with a growing student population and art community it remains one of the state's of greatest potentials for adding Democratic votes with some training and outreach efforts. I know because I helped to hold the line as Executive Director of the Jefferson County Democratic Party and after I left, I saw several seats over the next couple of cycles change hands to the Republicans. I know the story and I see what grassroots groups are doing online back home to put Texas back on a path to progress.
If you want to make change, putting your money where your mouth is is always a good start. One caller told me when the employee blamed Obama for their store being closed on Saturday that she replied, “well I won't be shopping there Mon – Friday then.”