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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Charles M. Lowe, March 20, 1975. Interview B-0069. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Opposition motivates more voting than support

Lowe believes that Republicans and conservative Democrats opposed consolidation because of its connection to busing. Lowe does not explain, but says that backlash against busing also brought voters to the polls to reject a move to build a new courthouse. Similarly, voters will cast ballots against incumbents just to inject some new blood into the political system.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Charles M. Lowe, March 20, 1975. Interview B-0069. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

MOYE:
Now, apparently most of the Republicans were…they seemed…The Republicans and what are called conservative Democrats are the ones who were opposed to the thing. Is this primarily because of the race and the school busing? Heard some comments about Judge McMillan on occasion.
LOWE:
This had a great deal to do with it. There's an old saying in polities, and there's a lot to it. People don't always come out when they're for something, but they sure as hell come out when they're against something. People were mad, and they were upset. They were just striking back. Not only did we have a "no" vote on consolidation, we needed a new courthouse. We tried to spell that out very carefully, and we couldn't get anything on that.
MOYE:
There seemed to be a period there. They got the civic center bond issue in '69, but there were several school board members defeated, some of the county commission incumbants defeated, the reereation tax went down, four or five issues in the bond issue voted down. Did this indicate some lack of confidence in the leadership or sort of a general protest feeling? Were there some specific things there, or just sort of a general?
LOWE:
Just a general feeling that the government and times and leaders and conditions were not in tune with what people wanted, the majority of the people. As I used to tell my black friends, and there's a lot of truth in this, if you can't oppress the minority, you sure as hell can't oppress the majority. The majority, rightly or wrongly, felt they had been oppressed. I don't think they had actually been oppressed, but I think they felt they had. Consequently, they were against anything. Let me use myself as an example and not talk about somebody else. I had been as you said appointed to the county commission, and next time I had run and been elcted and was chairman. Then, I didn't run for two terms. Then, I ran again and was elected and was chairman. Then, about '69 or '70, I ran again. I thought I had done my best work and been most effective, and, yet, I barely got elected. I ran fifth, and I'd always run first or second. It was simply not anything I had done or hadn't done. It was just a feeling of the people, "Let's get the rascals out and get some new ones in." I can understand this. I've always said, and I believe it, if you stay in politics and you do a good job, sooner or later, you're going to be voted out because you're going to make enough people mad. If you're simply a peanut politician, and you take a poll on everything, you can stay in indefinitely, but you're not much of an officeholder.