North Carolina: Are we better than this?

July 21, 2019

Today’s editorial in the Winston-Salem Journal “North Carolina, we’re better than this” was a welcome response to the Greenville Trump rally ugliness.   I regard it as a star in the crown of our city that it has never been selected – and is unlikely to ever be – as a site for a Trump mass hysteria rally.

When Carole and I decided it was time to leave the splendid isolation of beautiful central Virginia and find a hospitable urban area, we began a search that ended in Winston-Salem.  There were many reasons for our decision.   For years, we had regarded North Carolina as the most progressive and urban of the Southern states, with superior institutions of higher learning, cultural attractions, and a quality of life that we put to the test by exploring the attributes of Winston-Salem during “Five Days in October,” (which has been discontinued for reasons that escape us.)   It was a wonderful way to discover a city you might want to live in.  And so we moved and have never regretted it because we have met great people doing good works who are determined to make Winston-Salem a truly transformative city for all its citizens.

But there was a moment or two watching that Greenville rally on television when I wondered if we haven’t made a mistake.   Until I picked up the Journal today.   Like us, the Journal found it disappointing that the message of Trump’s (racist) tweets resonated in Greenville…”   I am assured that the rally is not reflective of Greenville, but I am not so sure.  There is in America today a reaffirmation of white nationalism and xenophobia that must, to some extent, account for the fact that in twenty-four states, Trump’s approval rating among 2018 voters stands at 50 percent or more.   This includes all the Southern  states east of the Mississippi River except two:

Virginia, with an approval rating of 42 for Mr. Trump and,

North Carolina, with an approval rating of 49.

There is nothing to be proud of when it comes to White Nationalism.   History is replete with the outcomes that have wreaked tragedy on families, embarrassed our nation, degraded its reputation, and damaged its claim to be exceptional.   Fortunately, North Carolina has not yet abandoned its claim to be exceptional.  But it’s close.



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