A few weeks ago, former Fayetteville Mayor, Nat Robertson, announced that he is running for Congress in the new 4th District.
He’s got some company:
Here’s a map showing the new 4th District in pink:
A Republican Primary featuring Robertson and Szoka will be an intriguing political battle.
It also scares me a bit.
To win the primary, they will have to appeal to rural, white voters in Harnett, Johnson, and Sampson counties. This is farm country, and these are Trump supporters. Many have shouted “Let’s Go Brandon” in the recent past.
There’s a hatred simmering under the surface in America right now, and a lot of politicians are fanning the flames for personal gain. Here’s one of them, also running for Congress in North Carolina:
Szoka and Robertson have always been able to stay above the partisan fray. They’ve built consensus in their respective arenas and each has done a great deal of good for Cumberland County. I’ll just say it: both men are statesmen and either would represent us well in Washington.
I just hope they don’t lose their souls trying to out-Republican one another. We’ve got enough of that going on right now.
There’s a quote I remember but can’t for the life of me find. Google’s been no help. I think it’s from a Hemingway book. I remember it like this:
“He remembered feeling that way in every autumn of his life…”
Reading the words brought memories of forgotten feelings of my youth. Autumn was melancholy and exciting at the same time. Summer was ending. You were losing the slow and easy freedom you’d come to enjoy. It was time to go back to work. But it cools down a bit and the southern air loses some of its weight. Nature gives you a new shot of adrenaline to do the job. The doves fill up the sunflower fields and the footballs fly end over end at Terry Sanford and Kenan Stadium. Friends and companions come back into your life and new crushes stir you inside. In the end, I think God knew what he was doing when he knocked the Earth into a tilt. He gave us an opportunity to grow.
My two boys and the vast majority of American kids lost that feeling and that opportunity in 2020. We took it from them. In a few short weeks, we have the opportunity to give it back.
To the Cumberland County School Board, The North Carolina General Assembly, and Governor Roy Cooper: You’ve been living your life this summer, as you please. Our kids don’t get that choice. As they can’t vote and they can’t get vaccinated, they’re easy targets for your control. But it’s time you take a calculated risk.
Open the school doors on the 23rd of August and keep them open.
Something rare for North Carolina politics happened today. Governor Cooper and the Republicans controlling the North Carolina Legislature actually agreed on something:
The plan calls for all elementary schools to open under “Plan A,” a category that means full in-person classes without the distancing requirements of “Plan B,” which has typically been implemented as a mix of in-person and online instruction to cut class sizes and spread students out.
Middle schools and high schools around the state would pick from Plan A, Plan B or a blend of both under the deal. The difference is based on ages: Older students are thought to transmit the virus that causes COVID-19 more easily than younger children.
All grades still have to provide parents with an online-only option.
Our school board members in Cumberland County should proceed with this plan immediately. They won’t, but they should. Other large counties, like Wake, sent their kids back in February. Instead, the Cumberland School Board will wait until the last possible moment under the law to get our kids in school full-time. It’s looking like April for us, and it’s a lesson that power and control, once acquired, are difficult to give up.
Our constitutional framework gives a great deal of power to the executive branches of our state and federal governments in times of emergency. We gladly handed over control to our fearless leaders when we were afraid last Spring. They’ve kept it since then. Now, a year later, some across the country want to take it back.
When an emergency ends, it’s only reasonable that governors should relinquish some control, or at least give it to the people’s representatives in the legislative branch.
Power, however, is not easily relinquished.
Watch any Star Wars movie for a quick lesson on the dangers of emergency executive control.
In the meantime, here’s what’s happening in 2021:
In N.Y., Cuomo is Being Neutered by His Own Party
Democrats in New York are upset with Governor Cuomo. They are attempting to limit his emergency powers, as we speak.
On Wednesday, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, a Democrat and chairman of the health committee, said it was now time for action. “We need to remind them that state government is not one big branch: There’s three of them,” he said.
Cuomo literally wrote a book on his covid performance.
Apparently, the people of New York don’t want anymore “leadership lessons.”
In N.C., Cooper Wants More Time
This week, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a bill to force open public schools. Governor Cooper said he supported reopening, but he didn’t do anything to actually open schools, leaving the decision to local schoolboards. This guaranteed gridlock, status quo, and frustration for parents and students.
Cooper came out against the new bill, wanting to hold onto the emergency power he was afraid to “execute” himself.
Local Democrats Billy Richardson, Kirk deViere, and Ben Clark voted for the bill, against Cooper’s wishes.
The only remaining question is whether Cooper will veto. As of today, he hasn’t decided what he’ll do. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
“Before taking action on the bill I have on my desk…”
That’s a ridiculous statement considering the crisis we’re in. Our kids deserve some action, Governor Cooper, one way or another.
If Cooper does veto the bill, he will likely be overridden. Unless something drastic happens, N.C. schools should all be open in March. It’s about damn time.
What it Means
These two Democratic Governors have higher office in mind, and they have been angling through the crisis to be a future V.P. or Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.
Cooper didn’t write a book about it, but he would often brag about how N.C. was “doing better” than other states in the region. Now, we’re not doing better. It’s all about the same, wherever you go, regardless of restrictions and regardless of whether schools are open.
In the end, we’re left with two governors who tried to turn their covid performance into a political springboard.