Terror of a tiny town

Via Cone, Rockingham County races, including Chris Knight’s zany TV ad, are highlighted in today’s NYT:

The election season is getting punchier in places far from the national political spotlight — even in Eden, N.C., where 16 candidates are slugging it out for the five available seats on the Rockingham County School Board.

One of them produced a television advertisement suggesting that the school system turned children into automatons. It is shot against a backdrop of a Pink Floyd video showing children coursing through an assembly line to the lyrics: “We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control.”

Another candidate shows himself brandishing a light saber as a “Star Wars” Death Star blows up a little red schoolhouse. The message: the federal government, a “cosmic bully,” meddles too much in education.

The advertisement of a third contender, riffing on a “new sheriff in town” theme, shows a sheriff being killed in “The Terror of Tiny Town,” the 1938 all-dwarf musical Western.

Not every local race is quite as entertaining, but the Rockingham County election shows how national issues like education, the economy, crime and ethics have been localized.

Is it me, or does the Times seem surprised that the yahoos down in Eden are debating such sophisticated issues as education, crime, ethics and the economy? In typical paternalistic fashion, the Times has it backwards: like many other small towns, Eden is simply addressing local issues that have become nationalized. Unfortunately.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

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