You’ve heard of Peking Man and Java Man. Now meet Mecklenburg Man.

This prehistoric specimen, Bill James, is a Mecklenburg County commissioner. At a recent public meeting in Charlotte, commissioners debated whether to offer domestic-partner benefits to county employees.

During the proceedings, James, a Republican white man, sat next to Vilma Leake, a Democratic black woman. Presumably each now wishes the other had been sitting in another country.

Leake revealed her personal tie to the debate: “A son that I birthed that died of AIDS and I did not know that in 2010 I would be sitting here to defend…his lifestyle,” she said with fervor.

After her speech, James leaned over and asked, “Your son was a homo, really?”

James is a caveman, really.

Leake responded, “You’re going to make me hurt you. Don’t do that to me. Don’t talk about my son.”

After the vote — where the board approved domestic-partner benefits for Mecklenburg County employees in same-sex relationships — Leake briefly left her seat, still smarting.

She wants an apology and the chair of the commission agrees. James told The Charlotte Observer he won’t apologize. He said he was just asking for a clarification, wasn’t making a derogatory comment and used a slang word he grew up with.

Language was limited in the cave.

WBTV asked James for an interview, but he said with all the recent talking and interviews he’d lost his voice. Before you say hallelujah, check out how ignorant and nasty he can be when he types.

In an email to the TV station, James called Leake “a religious hypocrite” who “used her son’s ‘lifestyle’ and his death from HIV-AIDS to justify voting for benefits to allow individuals to use tax dollars to engage in the same behavior that resulted in her son’s death.

“It is akin to someone whose son is an alcoholic and died from the disease, using his death from drinking as justification to have the taxpayers pay for more booze.”

Somewhere, a Cro-Magnon village is missing its idiot.

He devotes his longest paragraph to taking Leake to task for threatening him with violence, saying that’s her pattern. He has a long history of shooting from the lip, but that he omits.

It seems to me the average homophobic politician of today makes an effort to avoid obviously anti-gay language. James is below average. With people calling for his ouster for his initial insensitivity, instead of hushing up, he spewed bile till Charlotte was knee-deep.

Not very politic for a politician. My guess is he likes that, views himself as a straight-shooter. Or, he might simply be such a Neanderthal that all he knows how to do is speak his simple mind, then if there’s trouble, automatically start swinging. He skipped evolution or evolution skipped him.

Before he lost his voice, James spoke on local talk radio’s “Keith Larson Show.” He said, “If Vilma is, frankly, dumb enough to try to use her sick and sadly-dead son as justification for allowing more sickness and more death, then I’ve got a right to challenge that, in a public setting, in the arena.”

Yes, he called a fellow county commissioner dumb. Yes, he again said being gay is lethal. Yes, a paramecium has more brains and compassion.

How long will the people of Mecklenburg County put up with James? His initial slur even disturbed people who agree with him. It and his subsequent statements should get him booted from the commissioner’s chair.

Perhaps he’ll land in a natural history museum, where he’ll be linked with Peking Man, Java Man and others that — to his intense embarrassment — belong to the species Homo erectus. : :

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This article was published in the Jan. 9 – Jan. 22 print edition.