CNN reporter Gary Tuchman noted it was the mayor of the town which captured their attention:
"We called business leaders. We called mayors. And this particular town, Copperhill, has a very gregarious mayor who said he would be happy to go on camera.
And he guaranteed, everyone in town will want to talk to you.
And, indeed, they did. So, that’s why we went to Copperhill. But we could go to all 50 states and do the exact same story, Wolf.Recently I was talking with a long-time friend, a very smart, thoughtful fellow who likewise spouted a stream of meaningless hooey about Obama he'd read and heard which have been talking points for the Tennessee Republican Party for months now. It was sad to hear him say these things, and worse, to realize he is far more ready to believe them. After a long talk, I hit a sizable obstacle in his logic which no amount of talking could alter, it seems - his unspoken fear of a non-white person being President of the U.S.
That's what it really is - a deep-rooted fear of another race. Period.
As for the folks in Copperhill and Ducktown - they are folks who a willing to commit to something no matter what the consequences. For decades, the operations of copper mines in the basin were conducted at a very high cost: for fuel, they "cut down every tree and burned it", and the resulting sulphuric acid by-product of the mining returned as rain which left a dead landscape where nothing could grow in the ground for a 50-mile radius. (See more on this from a children's history of Tennessee. If memory serves, at one time the bright orange scar in the Ducktown Basin was once visible from space. I understand they have been aggressively trying to replant trees and clean up the water since the early 1990s.)
Some folks seem to be willing to dig in their heels hold fast to an idea, no matter how destructive.
Image of Ducktown Basin circa 1912