The Coming Test

As America emerges from the grey clouds of the pandemic, our differences seem sharp and clear. Some credit goes to the Supreme Court, which expanded gun rights in the face of continued mass killings and ended a constitutional right to abortion that existed for almost 50 years. On the economic front, we face record inflation and energy prices. A recession seems imminent and each party wants to blame the other. But who has a solution?

President Biden is too old to govern effectively and his poll numbers reflect this. Former President Trump’s popularity is dwindling in Republican circles. I hope both Trump and Biden will either get out of the way or be forced out. Their moment is past. If neither runs, it opens the door for each party to put forward their best and brightest and have a legitimate debate about the future of America.

This is an important moment. We desperately need this battle, because we’re living in two different countries. One is red, white and rural and the other is blue, brown, and urban, and we are long past due for a legitimate debate about how to reconcile the two.

We can’t both be right. We learned that in 1865. Have we forgotten? Ultimate questions will not go away because we’re busy watching Netflix, and they can’t hide behind cloth masks.

Who are we? Who are we going to be? Do we even care?

Whether we like it or not, we will be tested. Our Constitution will be tested. Is it still in us as Americans to rise to the occasion? Can it still work?

We’re going to find out.


The stock market is tanking, interest rates are rising, and a value meal at McDonalds will run you ten bucks if you get an apple pie. The post-covid world is not as pretty as we imagined.

From the yard signs scattered about town, you probably know we have an election coming up in a few days. Do you care? Is there an issue that has you motivated to vote in this primary?

We should be talking about a lot in politics right now, because decisions are being made that will shape our short-term future. Instead, it seems the world is looking ahead, trying to find some solace of normalcy.

In the midst of uncertainty, politicians like to sit and wait. This seems to be the case from City Hall to Congress. Everyone’s waiting to see how it shapes up.

Missed Opportunity

There’s a problem with the wait and see approach. A lot of these primary races are crowded. There’s eleven Democrats and fourteen Republicans running for one U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina. There’s six people running for Mayor of Fayetteville. Most City Council races have multiple candidates.

When you’re in a crowd, you’ve got to stand out. You stand out by standing for something. Say what you want about Trump, but that’s how he got through the Republican field in 2016, and he wasn’t nice about it. He defined himself and his opponents with vicious clarity.

I know we’ll get back to torching one another as soon as the primary is over. Then it’ll be all-out partisan warfare going into the midterm elections.

I’ll leave you with this: Voting starts in 48 hours and the leading story in the news is Madison Crawthorn accidentally bringing a gun into the Charlotte airport.

That’s where we are.

Where are we going? I have no idea.

The List Keeps Growing in NC-04

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:

Redistricting in N.C.: New maps approved, favoring GOP

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:

Madison Cawthorn - White Nationalist | TMB

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.

Blow It Up to Save It

I had the chance to visit Charleston, South Carolina this summer. I went fishing and drug Mrs. Richardson along. On a Sunday morning, we left the shipping channel and rounded Fort Sumter on a high tide to chase redfish behind James Island. The waves lapped against the old brick walls in the grey dawn. These walls survived artillery fire and hurricanes and the waves of a thousand flood tides. They’ll be there when we’re gone.

I also visited a Revolutionary War prison that housed the Patriots of Charleston during the British occupation. I saw a certain flag in the museum, designed by a South Carolinian in 1775:

Museum Around the Corner: Don't tread on me | Community |

As Americans, we don’t like being told what to do by a powerful executive. If we did, we’d still be British citizens.


Speaking of waves, we can’t agree on how to deal with them:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced results from a study Friday that found unvaccinated individuals were 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people. 

The research, spanning more than 600,000 people in 13 jurisdictions, also determined that unvaccinated populations were over 10 times more likely to be hospitalized — figures that underscore COVID-19 vaccines protect recipients from deaths and hospitalizations. The study also showed that unvaccinated people were 4 1/2 times more likely to contract COVID-19 than the fully vaccinated. 

Despite the data, Republican Governors in the South think making people get a shot is government overreach. Here’s Alabama’s Kay Ivey:

Today, the RNC announced it would sue the Biden Administration over the new mandates.

You shouldn’t be surprised. I’m not. If our history has taught us anything, it’s that freedom comes with a price, and that price is paid in blood.

Fort Sumter 150 Years Ago

Unfortunately, in America, the pain is often self-inflicted.

Get the Shot, Fayetteville (Part 3)

This is the final post of the “Get the Shot, Fayetteville” Trilogy.

Watch this video: