Carl Mumpower: A Danger to the Citizens He Claims to Serve
You'd think a fairly routine City Council race in a smallish city (~75,000 not counting tourists) in the sticks of Southern Appalachia would be off the radar screens of just about everybody else in the country. But alas, not so. One of the incumbents, a certain Carl Mumpower, has been busy making a claim for WingNut fame and fortune by egging on militia-style death threats against local schoolchildren and teachers. Mumpower is a hero of Teabaggers and hate-radio bloviators like Rush Limbaugh. So of course his more colorful antics this time around are getting national attention.
The latest is about a YouTube video showing a one-minute clip of students at a local elementary school participating in a 26-minute performance last February about famous Americans, and celebrating the election of the nation's first African-American President. While that program fully accorded with the North Carolina educational curriculum per teaching about civic leadership, American heroes, good citizenship, diverse cultures and such, the clip has led to some nasty charges and ramifications.
According to the Asheville Citizen-Times area resident Loren Lanter posted the clip to YouTube in late September, where it was picked up by national media and Rush Limbaugh as evidence of indoctrination in public schools. Limbaugh's old buddy Carl could of course be counted upon to exploit the situation to his dubious advantage. Mumpower announced:
"...That is ritual behavior and that's how you plug things into kids' heads. I'll come right out and say it. That's exactly how the Hitler youth were programmed prior to World War II."
This absurd grandstanding has led directly to death threats against teachers, threats of violence to the school, and has caused many parents to become very concerned about the safety of their children. One of the challengers for Mumpower's City Council seat, activist and blogger Gordon Smith responded, sounding a lot like a rational and civic-minded human being:
"Asheville's children and schoolteachers deserve our highest praise and encouragement. Instead we have a city leader insulting them and stoking the fires of violence. Carl Mumpower ought to apologize to the children, families, and school personnel for his dangerous comments and issue a statement condemning death threats against school officials."
Hear, hear. One wonders how Mumpower would characterize a one-minute clip of quick scenes showing public school students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to a piece of cloth, chanting requisite prayers to the Christian godling, dressing up and parading around in uniforms, etc. from way back when I was a kid. And those ubiquitous Duck-and-Cover drills were not just pointless to public safety, they were specific to instilling mass fear in the nation's children of a doomsday technology they weren't allowed to learn anything about. This country's never been materially different from any of its enemies in the matter of mass public and childhood indoctrination, brainwashing and fear-peddling. Heck we're much better at it these days with FoxNews, Limbaugh and his clones, and crazy WingNuts like Mumpower and ilk ready to demonize and threaten the very lives their own neighbors for a single minute of nationwide infamy.
Gordon Smith wrote the above condemnation of Mumpower on September 30 on his blog. On October 1 City Councilman Mumpower wrote on his blog:
"The recent brouhaha over our school kids reciting President Obama's campaign slogans has had more legs than most would have anticipated. Liberal apologists, culture vultures, and their enablers are joining forces to minimize the impact of the event and those challenging it. With all due respect, I would rather not."
He goes on to reiterate his Nazi charge, again identifies the school and its location specifically, and further likens the February civics program to indoctrination methods used by "Communist China, Castro, Al-Qaeda, and Hezbollah." Anything to pump those crazies, maybe get a WingNut to show up with assault weaponry and open fire at the school, or just park a rental truck loaded with explosives out front. Then he personally thanks the guy who posted the video to YouTube, despite the fact that doing so without any sort of consent or waver of any of the parents or teachers may be actionable, particularly in that it has led to those rampant and ongoing threats of violence against the school, teachers and students.
It's probably redundant to mention that Mumpower is a holdover from the city's notoriously racist past, or that he spends time casing public housing projects for signs of illegal goings on (that as a Councilman you'd think he could assign to the actual law enforcement apparatus of the city). For those of us who live and/or work in Asheville, it would be nice if the City Council could reflect something of the true diversity and political leanings of its citizens, rather than the paranoid racist rantings of the seriously inbred corners of outlying rural incorporations. There are good liberal candidates running this year and turnout in early voting has set a record so far, promising a record participation when the votes are counted.
The City Council races are officially "non-partisan," but this of course doesn't prevent the parties from financing and politicking for their favored candidates. Buncombe County Republican Party Chair Robert Malt admits that high turnout tends to indicate the citizens are "dissatisfied" with the status quo and are looking to change things. Let's hope he's right, and the last of our notorious wannabe mind-tyrants - who lost a bid for the 11th district to Heath Shuler in 2008 - is finally put out to pasture where he belongs.
Carl Mumpower's quest for personal aggrandizement must stop threatening the lives of citizens he's supposed to serve. If he won't call off his vicious dogs, he needs to be tossed out like the bum he truly is. As unceremoniously as possible, please!