Predictable Divides

Fayetteville was in the Washington Post today.

You should read the article. It’s about race.

“The divisions are not always predictable.”

“In Fayetteville, many young activists have cared little about renaming Fort Bragg or what the city does with the Market House — even as a diverse coalition calls for it to be torn down — but they have become particularly incensed over the words painted on the street around the structure, which they say symbolize the overcautiousness of a council not wanting to offend.”

I think the author gets it wrong about the “unpredictability” of the divides. Of course, I started a blog to write about them, so I’m biased.

My take: the divisions are alive and well and paint will do nothing to solve them. In fact, this paint job probably made them worse by angering both sides.

But that’s my take. Make your own decisions about these issues.

You live here.

Trump is Going to Lose

I realize this headline is not welcome news to roughly 45-55% of the people who read this blog. But it’s true. I call it like I see it. Feel free to keep reading, or not. It’s still the truth.

In 2018, I wrote a post comparing Trump to a “red giant” star.

Indian Astrophysicists: Lithium in Interstellar space & Red Giants ...

A “red giant” is a dying star in its last stages of evolution.  It burns up all the fuel at its core and the nuclear reactions move outward.  As the star cools, it expands, swallowing up planets and any other matter that gets in its way.

Donald Trump is the red giant of the 2018 election.  Republicans cannot escape his influence, good or bad.  He won’t let them.  He interjects himself (often intentionally) into every issue and every down-ballot race.  It’s always about him, and thus it will be in November.

Well, that was then. Something happened in 2020.

Coronavirus FAQ: What you need to know about the virus - The ...

It’s still happening. It’s microscopic in size, but this little red ball has absorbed everything in its path. It’s changing our lives, for the worse.

I’m not attempting to blame Trump for America’s Covid woes. A great deal of it is out of his hands, but Europe is going back to work and school, and we’re still struggling across the pond.


The Buck Stops Here - Tunnel Hill Baptist Church

It doesn’t matter why. All that matters is the problem won’t go away and Trump is still in charge. People will give you the benefit of the doubt for a while, but eventually you need to show them you have a plan to get out of the quagmire. Thus far, Trumps only plan has been to act like the quagmire is a “conspiracy” to stop his re-election.

After I wrote that last sentence, I checked the President’s twitter feed. He posted this one minute ago:

Trump’s inevitable hang-up is that he is facing a problem that cannot be contained in his world of self-centered soundbites.

Americans are not stupid.

They have come to understand that America is bigger than one man.

They want a President who understands that too.

Spikes and School

Today was supposed to be the day that Governor Roy Cooper announced his plans for the upcoming school year. He decided to wait.

I have two boys, 6 and 8. They are public school students. Cooper’s decision will have a direct impact on my family and the hundreds of thousands of others like “us” in this state.

We’re running out of time. School systems, teachers, employees, parents and students needs to know what’s going to happen to their lives in six weeks.

Why don’t they? I’ll tell you why, but you have to indulge my juvenile side a minute.

One of the benefits of having two young sons is you get to re-live your own boyhood in certain ways. One of these ways is you get to play the 21st century versions of the video games you grew up with. Nintendo is still Nintendo, it’s just a lot more fun. Speaking of fun, I take a great deal of pride in beating my boys in certain games. Again, Nintendo is still Nintendo and I put in the work at their age. It still pays off.

Things were going pretty well in North Carolina until June. Our covid curve was long and slow. I compared it to a “two-mile hill” in a post on this site. Governor Cooper was going to be a hero. The “Cuomo of the South” had gotten it right from the beginning and proved his critics wrong. Re-election seemed inevitable.

It was hard not to call North Carolina a success story, and it was smooth sailing as we negotiated the pitfalls of other states with ease.

In “Zelda” in 2020, you use a special power called “stasis” to freeze large metal objects that look like coronaviruses and will kill you if you touch them. In North Carolina in 2020, you use an controversial political tool called a “lockdown” to freeze human beings so they don’t get actual coronaviruses. The concept is the same.

It all seemed to work pretty well for us and after a few months of pain, it was time end the lockdown.

At the end of May, we hit the re-start button, putting an end to this nasty ordeal and getting back to our normal way of life:


It wasn’t over.

You need a cure to avoid the spikes. We don’t have one at the moment.

North Carolina’s covid problem roughly doubled in the month of June. The spikes got larger.

Rumors of the school year being postponed and rumblings of “remote learning” broke the hearts and the collective will of Tar Heel mothers.

They need a break. Their sons and daughters need a childhood.

So now what??? How do we get through this? Cooper’s not telling us, so you get the Cross Creek Divide answer:

I’ve got two solutions, one philosophical, one practical.

The first: actually listen to the experts. That’s what Cooper says he does.

In this case, listen to physicians who have spent their careers treating diseases that harm children.

They say our kids need to be in class.

The nation’s pediatricians have come out with a strong statement in favor of bringing children back to the classroom this fall wherever and whenever they can do so safely. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidance “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”

The guidance says “schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being.”

The AAP cites “mounting evidence” that transmission of the coronavirus by young children is uncommon, partly because they are less likely to contract it in the first place.

On the other hand, the AAP argues that based on the nation’s experience this spring, remote learning is likely to result in severe learning loss and increased social isolation. Social isolation, in turn, can breed serious social, emotional and health issues: “child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation.” Furthermore, these impacts will be visited more severely on Black and brown children, as well as low-income children and those with learning disabilities.

Now for the practical: Ramp up the teaching fellows program immediately. Forgive all student loans for graduates of UNC, NC State (yes, even them), or any other state university that agree to teach in a public school for four years starting NOW. Quadruple the funding, NOW.

The reason is simple: we need young teachers, NOW. Why? Young people are less susceptible to the dangers of Covid-19, NOW.

Adapt to the danger.

Most of all, keep moving forward.

It’s time to be brave.

Cause they are.

“Top of the Ticket” Poll

Today, Governor Roy Cooper extended the shutdown of many businesses and mandated masks in public. You could feel the collective “ughhhhh” arise from Tar Heel guts. Many of us are “over it.” Others vehemently disagree and believe we should fall in line for the collective good. The virus and everything relating to it it are now political. If you think it’s bad now, wait until public school starts (or doesn’t start) in a few months.

Cooper has maintained a strong lead in state-wide polls, but I have a feeling the race for Governor will begin to tighten as the collective patience of North Carolinians wanes in the summer heat. Time will tell, but time is running out. The election is less than six months away, and a poll is in order.

Who do you think will win the race for Governor?

Do you think Joe Biden or Donald Trump will win North Carolina?

Combine your answers and vote:

Inside Agitation

I am who I am. I’m a straight, white guy that grew up with many advantages. I won’t apologize for that, as I had nothing to do with it. We don’t get to pick such things. But I’m getting some grey up top, and I have more than a little experience on planet Earth, so I’ll share this. Take it or leave it.

I made the best argument of my legal career in a courtroom in New Albany, Mississippi, while standing a few feet in front of the Mississippi Attorney General, a few years after he had wrongfully convicted an innocent black man of murdering a white man, a few hours after the same A.G. had threatened to put my father in jail for standing up to him. I literally poured out my heart into that courtroom. Strangers hugged me on the courthouse steps afterwards.

We had to wait months for the decision.

We lost.

The Judge didn’t think my argument was worth a damn. I’ve thought about that day a lot, and I know that I couldn’t have done it any better. The law was on our side. The facts were on our side. But we lost. More importantly, our client lost. Such is the case for marginalized people on a daily basis in America.

It’s hard to hope after that.

What is it in us that seeks the truth? Is it our minds or is it our hearts?

I set out to prove a black man could receive a fair trial in the south, that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. That’s not the truth, because the eyes of the law are human eyes — yours and mine — and until we can see each other as equals, justice is never going to be evenhanded. It will remain nothing more than a reflection of our own prejudices, so until that day we have a duty under God to seek the truth, not with our eyes and not with our minds where fear and hate turn commonality into prejudice, but with our hearts — where we don’t know better.

A Time to Kill – Grisham

America is a government of the people and by the people and all of us people are flawed. We’re endowed by our creator with inalienable rights and deceived by evil forces, mainly fear, into thinking that others aren’t. If you’re a minority, you get the short end of this equation more often than not. And so change isn’t going to come from the top. Indeed, it’s less likely to. Those in charge rose to the top by mastering the current system.

So it is not surprising that the protesters want to burn down the system. Just break it, burn it down, and start over. This takes the form of a gas can on the Market House balcony or calls to de-fund police departments across the country. It’s not going to work unless you burn it all down.

If you love America as I do, even with its flaws, you might be more receptive to this closing argument:

Change will come, if at all, by changing the hearts of Americans, and the majority of Americans are decent and good people.

Remember that you are created in the image of God. Seek the truth, not with your eyes or your mind, but with your heart…

…where you don’t know better.