by George Rasley
As we noted in our recent column Democrat Socialists Are Coming For You, the Left has begun to make lists of supporters of President Trump and the MAGA movement with the intention of driving all those whom they can identify out of the public square and depriving them of employment, education and other societal benefits.
The latest examples of this Democrat system of oppression are the targeting of lawyers representing President Trump and a petition being circulated at Harvard University demanding that former Trump administration officials be prohibited from attending, teaching or speaking at the university.
In the threats against the lives and livelihoods of their political opponents Democrats are following the well-trod path of previous generations of totalitarians. The Nazi Nuremburg laws barring Jews from employment, Communist regimes designating various groups as “class enemies,” the Maoist Cultural Revolution, the Communist Chinese system of “social credit”and the Sharia-supremacist designation of non-Muslims as dhimmis, are just a few of the historical antecedents of the Democrats’ plans to use a combination of election fraud and economic warfare to destroy any opposition to their hold on power.
This systemic political oppression has gone largely unrecognized in the United States,* but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t existed, or been confronted and defeated, when it has grown intolerable to a group of citizens brave enough to do so.
As the American Heritage website explained, in 1936 McMinn County, Tennessee was taken over by Paul Cantrell, the Democratic candidate for sheriff. Cantrell, who came from a family of money and influence in nearby Etowah, tied his campaign closely to the popularity of the Roosevelt administration and rode FDR’s coattails to victory over his Republican opponent. Fraud was suspected—to this day many Athens citizens firmly believe that ballot boxes were swapped—but there was no proof.
Once Cantrell seized absolute power you couldn’t do anything in McMinn Co. without his permission or payoff. Apart from the Sheriff’s Office, the corrupted clique held the local media, schools, and pretty much all of the government institutions in McMinn County.
Lones Seiber, writing for American Heritage, documented what happened next:
Encouraged by his initial success, Cantrell began what would become a ten-year reign as the king of McMinn politics. In subsequent elections, ballot boxes were collected from the precincts and the results tabulated in secret at McMinn County Jail in Athens. Opposition poll watchers were labeled as troublemakers and ejected from precinct houses.
The 1940 election sent George Woods, a plump and affable Etowah crony of Cantrell, to the state legislature. Woods promptly introduced “An Act to Redistrict McMinn County.” It reduced the number of voting precincts from twenty-three to twelve and cut down the number of justices of the peace from fourteen to seven. Of these seven, four were openly Cantrell men. When Gov. Prentice Cooper signed Woods’s bill into law on February 15, 1941, effective Republican opposition died in McMinn County.
McMinn County Court, which was still dominated by Republicans, directed the county to purchase voting machines. The Cantrell Democrats countered by having Woods get a bill passed in Nashville abolishing the court and then selling the machines to “save the county money.” Department of Justice records show investigations of electoral fraud in McMinn County in 1940, 1942, and 1944 —all without resolution.
At the same time, corrupt Democrat law enforcement started harassing returning GIs – making a habit of picking up GIs and fining them heavily for most anything. They were, as witness Bill White related, “…kind of making a racket out of it.”
“After long hard years of service—most of us were hard-core veterans of World War II—we were used to drinking our liquor and our beer without being molested. When these things happened, the GIs got madder—the more GIs they arrested, the more they beat up, the madder we got,” said Mr. White.
In the early months of 1946, the GIs decided in secret meetings to field a slate of their own candidates for the August elections. In May they formed a nonpartisan political party.
Mr. Seiber, who witnessed the events as a seven-year old child, related that “the veterans fielded candidates for five offices, but interest centered on the race for sheriff between Knox Henry, who had served in the North African campaign, and Paul Cantrell. Since the 1936 election Cantrell had gone on to the legislature as state senator and installed Pat Mansfield as sheriff of McMinn County. A big, jovial sometime engineer for the Louisville & Nashville, Mansfield had done very nicely for himself during his term of office: his four years as sheriff had netted him an estimated $104,000. But now, in 1946, Cantrell was running for sheriff and Mansfield for state senator.”
In the final week a flurry of advertisements appeared in the town newspaper, the Post-Athenian; Cantrell enumerated the accomplishments of the Democratic party; while his crony Mansfield denied that two men arrested on July 30 with a shipment of liquor were deputies, even though they admitted they were and had been delivering “election whiskey.”
In an eerie prequel to the 2020 election, downtown merchants announced that all stores would be closed on Election Day and Boss Cantrell warned that the veterans had printed sample ballots with the intention of stuffing ballot boxes; the veterans offered a one-thousand-dollar reward for verifiable information about election fraud and repeated a slogan that for weeks had sounded again and again from their car-mounted loudspeakers: YOUR VOTE WILL BE COUNTED AS CAST .
Two days before the election the GIs ran an advertisement in the Post-Athenian : “These young men fought and won a war for good government. They know what it takes and what it means to have a clean government—and they are energetic enough, honest enough and intelligent enough to give us good, clean government.”
August 1, 1946: Election Day found voters lined up early in the largest turnout in local history Mr. Seiber related. Joining them were some three hundred of Democrat Sheriff Mansfield’s special deputies. Trouble began early. At 9:30 A.M. Walter Ellis, a legally appointed GI representative at the first precinct in the courthouse, was arrested and jailed for protesting irregularities.
According to Mr. Seiber’s research, at about 3:00 pm Tom Gillespie, an elderly black farmer from Union Road, stepped inside the eleventh-precinct polling place in the Athens Water Works on Jackson Street. Democrat Windy Wise, a guard for the Democrat machine, told Mr. Gillespie, “Ni**er, you can’t vote here.” When Tom protested, Wise struck him with brass knuckles. Gillespie dropped his ballot and ran for the door. Wise pulled a pistol and shot him in the back as he reached the sidewalk.
The shooting of Mr. Gillespie set off a series of assaults against the GI poll watchers and attempts by the Democrats to seize the ballot boxes. By 6:00 P.M. it seemed to be over. GI headquarters was deserted, and unhappy crowds moved quietly along the streets. Another election had been stolen, and nothing could be done about it.
At the Strand Movie Theater across from the courthouse, the marquee read: “Coming Soon: Gunning for Vengeance.”
According to Mr. Seiber, Bill White, who had fought in the Pacific while still in his teens and come home an ex-sergeant, had gotten angrier as the day wore on. At 2:00 pm in the afternoon he had harangued the group of veterans in the Essankay garage, saying: “You call yourselves GIs—you go over there and fight for three and four years—you come back and you let a bunch of draft dodgers who stayed here where it was safe, and you were making it safe for them, push you around. … If you people don’t stop this, and now is the time and place, you people wouldn’t make a pimple on a fighting GI’s ass. Get guns…”
Bill White then detailed two GIs to get a truck and, with a few other veterans, perhaps a dozen, he headed for the National Guard armory. There, he said in a 1969 interview, they “broke down the armory doors and took all the rifles, two Thompson sub-machine guns, and all the ammunition we could carry, loaded it up in the two-ton truck and went back to GI headquarters and passed out seventy high-powered rifles and two bandoleers of ammunition with each one.” After the GIs’ demand for a public counting of the ballots was ignored the night exploded in automatic weapons fire punctuated by shotgun blasts. The Democrats finally gave up when the GIs dynamited the jail where the stolen ballots had been locked away.
On August 4 corrupt Democrat Sheriff Pat Mansfield telegraphed his resignation as sheriff of McMinn County to Governor McCord and requested that GI candidate Knox Henry fill his unexpired term, which would end on September 1. Mr. Henry was appointed as Sheriff immediately, and the next day corrupt Democrat State Rep. George Woods returned to the county under GI protection to convene the election commission and certify the election. A cheer rang out in the courthouse when Woods rose as the canvass ended and announced that Knox Henry was elected sheriff by a vote of 2,175 to 1,270.
The national press was almost unanimous in condemning the action of the GIs, Mr. Seiber observed. In an editorial, The New York Times concluded: “Corruption, when and where it exists, demands reform, and even in the most corrupt and boss-ridden communities, there are peaceful means by which reform can be achieved. But there is no substitute, in a democracy, for orderly process.” However, the paper of record for the Nation’s elite offered no guidance as to how, without meeting corruption and violence head-on, that such an orderly process might be achieved.
Today’s corrupt Democrat list makers and election thieves might think of themselves as invulnerable as Boss Paul Cantrell and his deputies appeared to be back in 1946, but as the Battle of Athens demonstrated, Americans are not inclined to accept being bullied into submission to corrupt Democrats, and when peaceful means fail, natural law allows a remedy from the people for corruption and political oppression.
*The political oppression of African Americans in the post-Civil War Jim Crow South is a subject for a separate column.
- 2020 Election
- vote count
- voter integrity
- legal votes
- Joe Biden
- thumb drives
- voting machines
- Dominion Voting System
- illegal ballots
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Photo “Ballot Box” by Sharon Hahn Darlin. CC BY 2.0.