You can't handle the truth.
There is a temptation to take that line from Jack Nicholson -- snarled at Tom Cruise in "A Few Good Men" -- as the moral of the story, the lesson to be learned from a new study on trustworthiness and the news media.
Mix a pitcher of martinis Tuesday evening to fortify yourself against the torrent of election returns painting a pointillist portrait of the nation's mind. Before you become too mellow to care, consider some indexes of our civic tendencies.
A couple weeks ago, I finally finished after many fits and starts a wonderful book by my old friend and former colleague Ed Williams.
Williams, now retired, was for many years editor of the editorial pages at The Charlotte Observer, and for several of those years I was a mid-level editor on the news side of the paper. His book, “Liberating Dixie,” is a collection of columns and editorials he crafted with characteristic grace, wisdom and incisiveness over the years. Reading it was in some ways discouraging, since I was reminded on page after page how I could never measure up to the caliber of Williams’ work.
I’ve learned how to “tweet.” This involves putting words together to share, using 140 characters. One of my most “retweeted” “tweets” on the Internet came out after a tragedy had everyone in panic mode. These were the words: “The world is transfixed by fear. Perfect love whispers in fear’s ear to turn his head toward hope.”
It was the summer of 1969 the first time I came here, two months shy of my 12th birthday.
As the 2014 election cycle draws to a close, few states have drawn so much national attention as North Carolina, thanks to the tight Hagan-Tillis race, the dramatic turn in state government from blue to red, and our status as a presidential swing state in 2008 and 2012.
For longtime residents of the state, however, national attention is nothing new.
In a sun-dappled square decorated with scores of entrants in the community's Halloween scarecrow contest, a balky sound system enables, if barely, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate to exhort a few hundred people, mostly supporters, to urge neighbors to vote to reduce Sen. Harry Reid to minority leader. The exhorter is David Perdue, a glutton for punishment who has been campaigning incessantly for 15 months and may be doing so for two more.
Who are North Carolina’s public intellectuals?
Over the years we have been blessed with influential and thoughtful people whose wise commentaries about the state’s concerns often moved public opinion.
The early morning paramilitary-style raids on citizens' homes were conducted by law enforcement officers, sometimes wearing bulletproof vests and lugging battering rams, pounding on doors and issuing threats. Spouses were separated as the police seized computers, including those of children still in pajamas. Clothes drawers, including the children's, were ransacked, cellphones were confiscated and the citizens were told it would be a crime to tell anyone of the raids.
When Argos Therapeutics president and CEO Jeff Abbey talked about his company’s decision to come to Durham last week, he offered this anecdote:
““(We knew) we made the right decision when we got the whole company together and told them we would be in Durham … and this cheer went up from all 90 people.”
Barack Obama lost Kentucky in 2012 by 23 points, yet the state remains closely divided about re-electing the man whose parliamentary skills uniquely qualify him to restrain Obama's executive overreach. So, Kentucky's Senate contest is a constitutional moment that will determine whether the separation of powers will be reasserted by a Congress revitalized by restoration of the Senate's dignity.
Howard Fuller was back in North Carolina last week promoting his new book, “No Struggle, No Progress: A Warrior’s Life from Black Power to Education Reform.”
One of the wonders of this political moment is feminist contentment about the infantilization of women in the name of progressive politics. Government, encouraging academic administrations to micromanage campus sexual interactions, now assumes that, absent a script, women cannot cope. And the Democrats' trope about the Republicans' "war on women" clearly assumes that women are civic illiterates.
I’ve met Michael Burbidge, the bishop of the Catholic diocese of Raleigh – which encompasses Durham – a couple of times. He regularly reaches out to media in his diocese. He’s personable, measured, eager to listen and clearly a caring individual.
In the homestretch of the Senate race between incumbent Kay Hagan and challenger Thom Tillis, the disclosure that Hagan’s family profited from the 2009 stimulus package she voted for has drawn a great deal of attention.