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
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.
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.
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
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.