Publisher's note: This editorial appears here courtesy of Stan Deatherage's campaign site.
Joel Raupe wrote this celebratory piece briefly summarizing my efforts and intentions of when I first stood for election in 1994, and was elected to that Beaufort County Board of County Commissioners. Much has happened since then.
"Stan Deatherage first appeared on the Beaufort County's local political stage, a voice of reason in the middle of an open Tax Revolt. North Carolina's General Assembly forces every county government to access the value of its people's land to subsequently fund its annual budget for operations and obligations no more than seven years apart." Joel Raupe, 1998
Since those formative days of mine, as a political neophyte, of which Joel otherwise spoke so eloquently, I have been elected to the commission twice, and re-elected thrice; however, always in the minority as a Conservative. It has been nearly 18 years now that I have honorably served my constituents - Beaufort County's more conservative folk - yet we have little to show for these efforts.
Looking cleanly and well through the prism of history, it matters not that I have voted correctly on more than 90% on the issues that are the business of this board; what does matter is that there still exists Beaufort County Commissioners that are on the other side of these votes, who are solely responsible for the wrong-headed path that is the direction of this People's government. Lord knows, I have diligently worked to turn this Liberal /special interests ship of Beaufort County's inescapable fate, but real change takes time, and considerable effort of which I am well acquainted with.
Back in 1994, when I was elected to my first 4 year term that was part of my first 8 year run as a county commissioner, I was the only Republican on our seven member board, My good friend, and political ally Hood Richardson was first elected in 1996. In that general election, Mickey Cochran was elected, along with Commissioner Richardson, as a Republican. Mickey Cochran, even before his first meeting on that first Monday in December, 1996, told me that now, once elected, 'that he would not vote as a Republican, that he would not act as a Republican', and, remarkably for this one brief moment, Cochran was true to his word.
Whether Mickey Cochran was a record setting 'Leopard changing his spots' to become a fully indoctrinated RINO, he was emblematic of the immutable fact that there was, and still remains, a phantom committee of influential special interests that c ould easily get to the political essence of the weak, the unprincipled, and the intellectually vapid that are elected to serve the People of Beaufort County. It is as if these influential special interests, who congregate to pursue their singular purpose, hunt as pack of ravenous wolves to detect and pick-off the weak, the intellectually injured, and ethically challenged to feast upon their political carcasses at their whim - in small bites and big chunks solely at their purposeful discretion.
Now, back in 1996 after that aforementioned election of Hood and the infamous Mickey Cochran, and with a bit of help from knowledge of my first two years on the commission, I began to see a pattern emerge, and it was ugly. I must admit, because of my then optimistic spirit and eternal sense of well being for my fellowman, my naive nature blinded me to the certainties that I now recognize as abject truths - that Beaufort County has long been run to satisfy the needs of the special interests - from all walks of life. As I grew in governing, learning how good governments function well, I recognized that our little county Downeast was far from that straight and narrow line of principled politics where the best interests of all the People are better served.
How does this happen here in my beloved in Beaufort County?
In a word: Ignorance.
Could this be a question of Beaufort County's variation of the 'Chicken or the egg' conundrum: Which came first; the stupid, unprincipled politician or the stupid, unprincipled electorate that gave these political hacks political life? Before you answer, and if you believe just one modicum of this hypothesis, ask yourself: Who is responsible for this endemic unprincipled, and rather stupid behavior?
My answer from back in middle to late 1990's: All of us, but some of us far more than others.
You see, it was always a question of knowledge - something that Beaufort County's electorate had far too little of. It was also a question of the preparation and the dissemination of that knowledge, which at that time, fully rested in the incapable hands of the Washington Daily News.
Now, in defense of the Washington Daily News, I do not believe that they originated the concept that it was their proxy alone to mislead the People of Beaufort County; it was, however, a general practice that local newspapers managed the news, here Downeast, rather than report it. I suppose that is how one wins the Pulitzer in a world of journalism run by Democrats. I also suppose it was, and still is, but in smaller numbers, an elite club of eastern North Carolina news outlets, like the WDN, to support all Democrat ideals from Jim Crow
to the Great Society
; the politics of purpose that kept Democrats in office, and kept their special interests influence strong for their respective needs.
All of these journalistic motives interwoven with special interests political machinations, as I have understood this truth for some time now, is completely counterproductive to good governing. Furthermore, as the overall landscape of America's political apparatus becomes ever more porous in principled concept, our government of special interests above all else hastens a destructive corrosive force that will jeopardize our sustaining this Republic of unified states.
Did I understand all of these truths back in my formative political years in the mid/late 1990's? No, but I knew something was inherently wrong. Wrong enough that I helped Hood Richardson spearhead the origins of a Republican Men's Club, which has now evolved into the Conservative Republican Club, with our prime directive to film the county commissioner meetings by the Republican Men's Club paying for their production. Simply put, with the Washington Daily News, ironically the county's Newspaper of Record, publishing only God knows what of the content of the People's meetings, we needed a true record of the reality of the People's business of their government here in Beaufort County.
In those early days of bringing the county's meeting to the full light of a proper government, not hiding behind the inconclusive words and wishes of special interest, and their mouthpiece of record, the Washington Daily News, the general population of Beaufort County understood an infinitesimal amount of any real knowledge, at any given time, and 'the powers that be' kept it that way.
A case in point is when Hood and I proposed that we film the meetings, with the Republican Men's Club paying for it (we had already tried to pass that the government pay for it), the Democrats and RINO Mickey Cochran voted that we could not. When we next advised this majority of Liberals that we would do it anyway without their permission, they countered that they would involve the sheriff to stop us.
The short story: The fledgling Republican Men's Club hired Randy Walker at whatever we could afford to pay him, and Videographer Walker, would scrape together whatever equipment he could find, and did set up his equipment, and, ultimately, we did make public record of our monthly general meetings, irrespective that the quality of the product was, at that time, terrible. The Democrats and their pet RINO, sat there, and did not exercise their threat to involve the sheriff in shutting us down. Obviously, they were advised on North Carolina's Open Meetings Law, which give we, the public, the right to witness these public meetings.
I still remember Commissioner Hood Richardson's prophetic statement of the dramatic about face by the Liberals on stopping us from bringing Beaufort County's government, unfiltered, to Beaufort County's people, "In Beaufort County, and in particular here around Washington, it never is about the law; it is all about what Good Buddy wants, what Good Buddy needs."
The origination of this filming, however crude in retrospect, of Beaufort County's government meetings was alternately a perfect irony of possibly the first instance, in modern history, of when "Good Buddy" got shut down. It would not be the last of Hood and I standing up against the stone wall of special interests in our little corner of the world ... "Good Buddy" be damned.