Guest column by "ex-spook" Robert Chapman, retired U. S. intelligence officer
All my life I believed in one man, one vote. I criticized the South for poll taxes and literacy tests. Now, I don't know. I am confused.
I live in eastern North Carolina in what is called the "Prettiest Town in the South" which was spared the ravages of the Civil War. We have the ocean, the sounds, all kinds of fishing, hunting, golf; the people are kind and polite. Our problem, which afflicts so much of America, is our county is 61% illiterate. The county to the north is the same, but the larger one to the south reaches an illiterate rate of 81%. Ipso facto, public education ranks low. There's no quest to learn. And there's nothing even over the far horizon that this will change. One must wonder what people think about, talk about or know.
Our county had a nest egg of $20 million coming from the sale of our hospital to a state university. It was a good deal. Interest could be spent for town betterment, but the investment was not to be touched. However, our county commissioners, all from the Democratic Party, unschooled in governance, wrongly allowed the moneyto be spent for extravagant town buildings. Perhaps the townspeople should have known but instead mistakenly trusted government. The shock came when the town learned millions of dollars were due on government loans, and the nest egg had whittled down to $100,000 orso. From the housetops, responsible people shouted to get the rascals out of office. For the first time in the town's history, Republican businessmen and farmers ran for county commissioner seats to repair the damage in the best way possible.
The 2008 Presidential Election came upon us. The Obama campaign sent community organizers to our region from 500 or more miles away. Aided by local Democrats a massive voter registration program began sweeping the poor, the illiterate, and the uneducated into a previously unknown voting block. Tragedy followed.
The new voters had never voted before. They flocked to the polls. Unbelievable stories abounded. The voters knew only that a black man, Obama, was running. Some thought Palin was his running mate. They were totally uninformed. One poor illiterate came into the poll to vote. He did not know if he was an American citizen. Patient poll workers questioned him and found he remembered being born in town. They asked for whom he wanted to vote, and when he answered "Obama," they registered him as a Democrat and let him to vote.
The Democratic organizers and their cohorts wanted North Carolina to go Democratic and as the uneducated approached the polling station they were instructed to vote the straight Democratic ticket. They did. The most intelligent man running for the county commission was crushed in the voting.
The same incumbent county commissioners who caused our fiscal crisis were voted back into office. We are falling into county bankruptcy.