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The strangers came and tried to teach us their ways

By Don Lein
Posted Wednesday, November 1, 2006

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Pittsboro, NC - While sitting in my rocking chair on my front porch with my shotgun across my knees and flanked by my two black-and-tans, Duke and Rusty (a little politicization of this pastoral scene) a melody from my mother's ancestor's home was flitting through my memory:

"Oh, the strangers came and tried to teach us their ways,
They scorned us just for being what we are".

It occurred to me that things haven't changed much over the centuries, but it also pointed out we can learn from history and what others have learned. Back in the days when I was a productive member of society we looked at the best practices in the industry and try to emulate them. Chatham has that same option, since we are so late in the development cycle when compared to other similarly situated counties.

I thought I would apply that same logic to the question of district voting and realized that Orange county, among others, was facing the same set of issues. As odious as it may be to some of us who deliberately eschewed Chapel Hill for "true North Carolina with real North Carolinians", we can learn something from them. When old Europe began to lower tax rates, offer school choice, and question its embracing multiculturalism after the brutal slaying of Theo van Gogh by Mohammed Bouyeri, my own parochialism began to give way.

What I found was surprising. Despite all the intellect residents in that town/county not one had discovered that minorities were disenfranchised by district voting. Since they are normally deemed to be very sensitive to racial issues, we should dispatch one of our "experts" to dispel the clouds of ignorance. Apparently it has never occurred to the leaders nor the voters that they will be giving up some of their prerogatives - they may be able to vote for only the commissioner from their district and not all the candidates - horrors. Perhaps a missionary can be sent to enlighten these backward people on what they will be giving up with district voting.

Don't the people in Orange County realize how divisive district voting will be - you will actually have commissioners who will demand certain things for their constituents and will not subsume them under some "best for the county" rubric. Why, that is almost tantamount to individual citizens demanding freedom instead of doing what is "best for society" - what a perfectly scandalous concept! Why you might have farmers who will want to sell their land to parties the county doesn't approve of, or for uses that are not "approved". These property rights and freedom ideas need to be stamped out in Chatham, and Orange, as well.

The denouement of this nibbling away of rights is the complete abrogation of your rights. Do you want to step onto that slippery slope? You can help protect your individual and your districts rights by voting "yes" on election day and you can send a powerful message to the "strangers" who "came and tried to teach us their way".

 
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