Which comes first, the chicken or the city?

Students of North Carolina history may know we have an official state motto. First adopted in 1893, "Esse quam videri – To be, rather than to seem," offers a stark contrast between the North Carolina formed in 1775 and the 2009 version.

A search for the difference might easily land on Asheville's $1 billion water system. Manipulating a dusty document from the '30s, our local legislative delegation successfully conned their Raleigh colleagues into passing new laws to steal control of this city-owned asset. The media got lost in a deception that has found about every elected official in Asheville, Buncombe and Henderson counties swapping integrity for power. Seldom has thievery worn such a noble mask.

The issue of illegal immigration mirrors the image of a turtle flipped onto its own shell. A disturbing percentage of the motels, restaurants, manufacturers and contractors in town continue to wink at counterfeit credentials for non-English-speaking labor. The wage suppression, transferred education, health-care and social-service costs, and lost jobs for legal [residents] impact us all.

West of Asheville rests the Cherokee Reservation. It is worth noting that isolation, as in reservation, is a fast ticket to cultural self-destruction, regardless of the richness of a people's heritage. Adding further insult to this upside-down, government-sponsored injury, some time back, our leaders in Raleigh skipped over Reality 101 with another white-man's mission to uplift the Cherokee. Echoing the absurdities of history, gambling was defined as the ticket to a better day.

When Asheville's Council addressed a new ordinance governing animal control, the chamber and halls were filled with chicken, dog, bee, bear and bird advocates. I am all for chickens, but where were all these people when we debated stopping our busy open-air drug markets in public housing and other vulnerable neighborhoods?

Literally thousands of Asheville's children and elderly live under the constant threat of drug thugs and their customers. I like eggs and would never chain my dog, but I am baffled by the enthusiasm for chickens and the evident detachment from equally vulnerable human beings.

Reality is quietly knocking on the door – telling us that all is not as it seems in Asheville. It is in our collective interest to pay attention. A re-acquaintance with North Carolina's state motto might be a good place to start.

— Carl Mumpower, member
Asheville City Council
Asheville

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6 thoughts on “Which comes first, the chicken or the city?

  1. Mark Farnsworth

    “Literally thousands of Asheville’s children and elderly live under the constant threat of drug thugs and their customers. I like eggs and would never chain my dog, but I am baffled by the enthusiasm for chickens and the evident detachment from equally vulnerable human beings.”

    Dr Mumpower, I think the reason is that it is much easier to take a stand up for a petty matter than to stand up to drug dealers. The “activists” want to protest easy, safe stuff. They don’t have the courage to protest drug dealers. They might get their little yuppie transplant hands dirty.

  2. entopticon

    It was interestingly ironic that in Carl’s usual xenophobic rant about immigrants, he also brought up the Cherokee. Like the Cherokee, most of the immigrants that Carl endlessly obsesses about are native Americans. Unlike most of the people such as Carl who say they aren’t welcome here, they are blood relatives to the Cherokee. Their ancestors have been migrating around this continent for tens if not hundreds of thousands of years.

    There are no simple solutions, but the extreme right’s xenophobic obsession with immigrants is both toxic and astonishingly hypocritical. Their ancestors have been migrating around this continent for thousands and thousands of years before white men ever showed up.

    Additionally, Carl wonders how we can care so much about keeping chickens, but not his misguided war on drugs. The plain and simple truth is, drug thugs exist because of the war on drugs, not in spite of it. Just like the infamous gangsters who had an industry created for them by alcohol prohibition, the supposed war on drugs is what keeps today’s thugs in business.

    Carl was right about one thing… reality is still knocking at his door. I hope that some day he has the courage to answer it, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

  3. travelah

    Doc Carl, please don’t do drugs, eat chicken or gamble on the reservation.

  4. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Carl Mumpower wrote: “West of Asheville rests the Cherokee Reservation. It is worth noting that isolation, as in reservation, is a fast ticket to cultural self-destruction, regardless of the richness of a people’s heritage.”
    _______

    First, Cherokee is not a “reservation.” It is a “boundary,” an entirely different government entity. Specifically, it is the Qualla Boundary, a small piece of the original homeland of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

    It is not, and was never, a “reservation” to which the inhabitants were assigned by either the North Carolina or United States Government. The original inhabitants of that particular real estate were, in fact, already there, on their own land, long before either North Carolina or the USA existed.

    Subsequently, after many attempts at annihilation by England and the “new” (European) Americans, those Cherokee residents were recognized as citizens of North Carolina by the NC Legislature and later by the United States Congress. The tribe is now federally recognized as a “sovereign nation” within a boundary held in trust by the United States government.

    On the other hand, a “reservation,” aka “reserve,” simply means land reserved for either an individual or group of individuals, providing some measure of private ownership, aka “a deed,” sometimes where they already resided, but more often somewhere else on land nobody else wanted at that time. There were once many such “reserves” or “reservations” scattered all over WNC and elsewhere, and many are still owned by descendants of the original “reservees.” Most, however, have been sold and resold many times. (Many tribal reservations out west are still intact, except for the Black Hills, et al.)

    As for Mumpower’s definition of reservation as “isolation” and “a fast ticket to cultural self-destruction,” Cherokee is doing quite well, thank you. Cultural preservation is alive and well with language immersion in the schools, use of Cherokee language throughout the boundary, and a thriving museum and other cultural projects; and the tribe is a major employer for the entire region for both tribal members and non-tribal members within driving distance of the boundary.

  5. nuvue

    Good Points Betty, My experiences in Cherokee have also been that they are doing well. The kids there by and large are well fed and educated. They have a good sense of “place” and are welcoming their traditions and heritage. It is one of the few Indian run areas where the pavement STARTS at the boundary.

    So I didn’t get it, who owns the water system now? I thought it was still in city control.

  6. Piffy!

    [i]I am all for chickens, but where were all these people when we debated stopping our busy open-air drug markets in public housing and other vulnerable neighborhoods? [/i]

    They were all out trying to buy drugs.

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