At first blush, attorney Greg Doucette seems an odd foil for the Republicans running the UNC Board of Governors. In 2016, he was the GOP nominee for a state senate seat in Durham. He’s spent most of his life involved in Republican politics even though he’s now registered unaffiliated. He has libertarian, anti-government leanings that extend to law enforcement.
Now, Doucette is leading the charge against the deal cut between the BOG and the Sons of Confederate Veterans that gives the neo-Confederate group $2.5 million to make Silent Sam go away from Chapel Hill. In a pretty funny move, he’s demanding that the Sons of Confederate Veterans use the money to set up a scholarship for black students. Doucette also tweeted that the deal was so bad that people associated with the university could go to jail.
Doucette is clearly having fun with this project. His twitter feed mocks the SCV as a quasi-KKK outfit. He says the money is for a new “Klubhouse” and calls his effort “2019 UNC Klanwatch.” It’s clear that Doucette believes his cause is righteous and he has a take-no-prisoner approach toward most people in power. He’s irreverent and cocky but he’s also using his large twitter following to raise money for what he calls the Bull City Foodraiser to make sure fewer people go hungry this holiday season.
Doucette reminds me of Joe Sinsheimer. Sinsheimer was the former Democratic operative who was instrumental in bringing down Democratic House Speaker Jim Black. Both men are driven by a sense of outrage and the belief that good, honest government is far more important than loyalty to any party. Both are citizens who put their skills to work and publicly called for scrutiny of very powerful people. They’ve built cases of abuse of power with no other purpose than a sense of duty. I know Sinsheimer lost friends over his crusade. I suspect Doucette has, too.
Right now, more than ever, we need more people like Joe Sinsheimer and Greg Doucette. Oversight of government has dwindled as our news organizations have shrunk. Fewer reporters leave less transparency and more opportunities for corruption. In both the state and federal government, we’re seeing authoritarian forces subvert the rule of law and too many people are retreating to their partisan defenses. Let’s cheer the people who will put their values before their political leanings.