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Maybe we can talk things over

By George ("Jake") Horwitz
Posted Wednesday, November 8, 2006

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Pittsboro, NC - When I voted yesterday in Pittsboro, a small white woman asked me to vote yes on the county referendum. She was modest and ingratiating in her demeanor. She spoke in a quiet voice. I'm afraid I brushed her off peremptorily, saying that I did not see how voting yes would be in anyone's interest. She differed, but was too polite or too shy to pursue the matter.

After I drove away, I was plagued by questions. She was such a tiny creature. What made her stand out in the rain like that? What on earth made her think she could change anyone's mind? Chatham County is so pretty in the rain, dripping, misty. I'd rather be here than any place I know.

I hope that in the next few weeks, our chatlist will be consumed by the question of fair representation in the County. Many of us who voted against re-districting saw nothing but the fine feloneous hand of Mister Bunk; I hope we also recognize that over 7,ooo people voted for his redistricting coup; less than the 9,ooo who voted against it, but still a significant number. I submit that these voters were not all greedy operatives of the voracious developers; nor do I believe that they were all people who wished to disenfranchise the black voters of Chatham County. One or two, probably. Rather, I suspect, some, perhaps many, were people from the more rural parts of the County, people who have seen their ways and their perceived rights threatened or swept aside by interlopers from Chapel Hill and points north.

I used to know a bunch of these folk in Bynum. Thirty-three years ago they were gracious enough to accept me in their midst with acts of kindness I can never repay. They were funny and shy, smart and sheltered, curious and a little distant, sometimes beligerent, more often charming, almost always helpful. I thought the world of those people, my new neighbors, and I still like to think of them, although many have now passed away or moved out. I gained much from knowing them and now I miss the ones I knew who've gone. And they're gone. They're really gone.

I was reminded yesterday by that shy lady at the polling place, standing in the rain with her dripping eyeglasses, wanting to talk to me. Next time I'll listen. I promise. I'm sure you all will listen, too. Maybe we can talk things over, work out something more inclusive and appreciative.

We need to do.

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