Glen Allen neighbors differ on politics, agree debate didn't move the needle

"We’re still Americans."
Posted at 6:18 PM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 18:34:55-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Following the first presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, how voters view the candidates' performance and character were not shifted one iota, at least in one Glen Allen neighborhood.

Gladys Abernathy and Joe Kirby live down the street from one another in Glen Allen.

The political signs in Abernathy’s yard list the names on the Republican ticket in her district: Trump, Gade, Freitas. In front of Kirby’s yard are the names of the Democratic candidates: Biden, Warner, Spanberger.

Abernathy is a great grandmother and has lived in her Glen Allen home with her husband for 30 years. On the wall in her hallway next to framed photos of her great grandkids, hangs a letter from the Trump campaign, thanking her for donating.

“I thought that was honorable,” she said.

Abernathy backs the President because she likes the way he speaks his mind and feels Trump "nailed” Tuesday's debate.

“No, I wasn’t pleased with his butting in,” she said. “If that was me, I would probably do the same thing because he’s lying through his teeth. And he’s so tired of being slammed every time he opens his mouth, the President.”

Although the countless moments of interruption and name calling are getting the most attention, Abernathy said she appreciated hearing Trump speak out against the Affordable Care Act and other Democratic policies.

“If the other group were to get in there, it’s no telling what would happen,” she said.

Like so many neighborhoods during election 2020, the signs and the viewpoints can change quickly just down the block.

Kirby is supporting the Biden-Harris ticket, even placing a Biden bumper sticker on his Saturn.

“I want to advertise that there is another way to go,” he said. “I understand where [Trump supporters] are coming from. They were looking for something new, something different than the same old same old. And maybe they just trusted the wrong person.”

Kirby said Biden did the best he could, given the format of the debate and repeated interruptions by Trump. He feels the President is not a capable leader and said the rancor on display Tuesday night only continues to prove that point.

“Last night was the inevitable conclusion of what we’ve seen before,” Kirby said. “I think it’s more of a test of character than it is anything else. The issues have already been talked about and covered. If you don’t about that by now, you’re not going to get that from a debate.”

Although the political signs look much different in front of both homes, Abernathy and Kirby both flying American flags during this time of great political division.

“We have that privilege to vote for whomever we wanted,” Abernathy said.

“No matter how much we fuss and fight over the little and big quibbles. We’re still Americans, and we’re all fighting for the same thing,” Kirby said.

Two more presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate are scheduled before Election Day. The neighbors said they do not think those events will move the needle for many voters, even with different formats.