(pictured above: Don Yelton is seen here in a still from his infamous “Daily Show” interview.)
Be sure to cast your General Election ballot, either during early voting (which ends Saturday) at the Forsyth County Board of Elections or at your precinct on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Locals will pick the City Council next week, but in our opinion, there isn’t much of a choice. The Council has faced some criticism for being tilted heavily Democratic. Mayor Allen Joines and seven of the eight Council members are Dems, and the sole Republican, Robert Clark, is so progressive, he could easily pass as a Democrat. We think the antics in Republican-controlled Raleigh have rekindled admiration of the sanity of Democratic-leaning governing bodies like our Council.
The incumbents – Mayor Joines, DD Adams (North Ward), Vivian Burke (Northeast Ward), Molly Leight (South Ward), James Taylor (Southeast Ward), Clark (West Ward) and the East Ward’s Derwin Montgomery (who has no General Election opponent) – have led the city admirably over the last four years, and we believe they will continue to do so.
Their lack of qualified competitors is a testament to the state of the city, which is pretty darn good. Keith King, a downtown convenience store owner, is promising. The independent candidate launched an admirable grassroots effort to get his name on the Northeast Ward ballot.
Unfortunately, he faces Council veteran Vivian Burke. (Republican Michael Owens is also in the mix.) Burke has the experience, connections and the fire in her belly (as her impressive showing in the primary proved) to help the city reach the next level.
Many of the other competitors, though, are simply bored and have chosen to run for office as a hobby. James Lee Knox – the n-word-spewing imbecile challenging Joines – is one of those who has decided to take up campaigning instead of stamp collecting or golfing. Knox had said that he was dropping out of the race – this after the local Republican Party distanced itself from him after it was revealed that he hurdled the n-word at a black Board of Elections employee. His name remains on the ballot, though, where we are sure it will go unpunched by voters.
There will be a new Council member from the Northwest Ward, since longtime Council member Wanda Merschel chose not to seek another term. Democrat Jeff Macintosh and Republican Lida Hayes Calvert are running to succeed her. We, without question or doubt, support Macintosh. He has the energy and ideas to represent a progressive ward like the Northwest and to fill Merschel’s sizeable shoes.
Now, back to racist Republicans.
One of the strangest episodes in 20th Century history occurred in Nazi Germany during the last years of World War II. Hoping to slow their inevitable defeat and reverse public sentiment, the Nazis made a series of propaganda films that depicted concentration camps as oases of beauty, kindness and culture.
Directors – some Jewish prisoners – were enlisted to perpetrate the ruse. The healthiest looking Jews were plucked from concentration camps – forced to play dress-up and smile for the camera. Sets – and clever film-editing – were employed to mask the utter horror of the camps.
In many cases, scenes were filmed just feet away from the reality of pencil-thin, starving men, women and children and the stench of dead bodies.
The Republican Party’s decision to open African American Engagement Offices across the nation brought all of this to our mind. We are not equating the Party to Nazis. Let’s repeat that: WE AREN’ T equating the Party with Nazis!!
But like those films, we see these offices as a means of putting a happy face on a dire situation.
The GOP can trot out as many articulate, well-dressed black men and women as it pleases to press the party’s doctrine, but their voices will never ring louder in the black community than those of James Lee Knox, Don Yelton and the many, many other racists who feel right at home in the Party and free to express their venomous hate.
The GOP has a race problem, alright, one that probably has Lincoln turning in his grave. From Rush Limbaugh, to the Tea Party, to the overtly racist pushes for voter ID laws and to close the nation’s borders, the party is brimming with bigots.
The party can dress that fact up with swank offices and minority surrogates preaching about the GOP’s faith and family values, but the picture behind the mask is ugly and vile.