Whose team are you on?

Published January 17, 2014

By Tom Campbell

by Tom Campbell, Executive Producer and Moderator, NC SPIN, January 16, 2014.

Sometimes our problems loom so large and seem so complex we can easily be disheartened or depressed about our state’s future. And once sworn-in, our elected officials are constantly sworn at, like it is some kind of sport. We’ve become a people more focused on the negatives, the problems and the failures than on our possibilities and potential. Two polar-opposite politicians reminded us this week that perhaps we need to change our perspective.

President Barack Obama and Governor Pat McCrory come from different political parties, are of different races and have differing political philosophies, but they have a thing or two in common. Both have been more vehemently vilified than any governor or any president in modern times - Obama because he is a liberal Democrat; McCrory because he is a conservative Republican. But the picture of the two of them shaking hands at RDU airport this week was truly worth a thousand words. The message was that these two leaders could put aside their differences to work together to improve North Carolina’s economy.

McCrory, appearing on the TV show NC SPIN last week, acknowledged the many problems in our state but sounded every bit the cheerleader, touting what he is calling the “Carolina Comeback,” an improving economic climate underscored by a two percentage point drop in our unemployment rate over the past twelve months. Obama was in Raleigh to announce the new manufacturing innovative institute, a consortium of universities and businesses helping to research, innovate and manufacture the new generation of power electronics. Political rhetoric? Perhaps, but also a strong reminder that optimism trumps doom and gloom.

Former motivational speaker Zig Zigglar frequently said some people find fault like there’s a reward in it. We can dwell on the negative, rant about who is doing whatever we don’t like and complain about what is wrong in government, but how’s that working out for us?  And how is it making things better?

We’re not for one minute suggesting that everyone has to agree with the politics or the policies of Obama, McCrory or anyone in a position of authority. Healthy constructive and civil disagreement and debate can be very productive. Neither should we ignore our many problems. They are big, sometimes seem insurmountable and won’t get fixed without being addressed.

But nobody builds monuments to critics and they don’t give the Nobel to naysayers. No team and no state or nation can succeed when members are working at cross-purposes. President Obama reminded us of all the research being done at our incredible universities, in Research Triangle Park, Centennial Campus and other labs throughout North Carolina. He pointed out innovative companies that are using that research to design new products and businesses that are employing those new products in manufacturing. We are a state with bountiful natural resources, a great climate and people eager to work.

With all our problems North Carolina has a lot going for it and now is a time to put behind us things dividing us, focusing instead on our positive assets and working together. Regardless of voter registration, age, sex, race or place of birth we are all on the same team. It’s not a Democratic or Republican, white or black, rich or poor team. It’s the North Carolina team.

January 17, 2014 at 9:15 am
Paul Kelly says:

Stop saying that people from different continents are different races. You are wrong to do so and it is absolutely destructive to continue to assert it. Both men are humans. Each could impregnate the others' wife. That means THEY ARE THE SAME RACE!!!!!! The most you can say is that they are different ethnicities (I'm grimly amused your spellchecker does not think that ethnicities is a word). And even there the distinction is more cultural than anything else.

You give the overall impression here that, grudgingly and seemingly having to be towed to the table to say so, but you would like to say something unifying. Well, ending the divisive usage of 'different races' when referring to two or more humans would do more to unite than any amount of observing two politicians willing to shake each others' hand at an airport.

And Obama is a vile traitor whose main accomplishment will remain the vandalization of the political institutions of the United States. It's that to which I fervently object.

January 17, 2014 at 10:00 am
TP Wohlford says:

I guess you missed the LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, (Bush '41 not so much) Clinton and Bush '43 critics? I seem to recall some stuff about Bush '43 recently for sure... some movies, a hit piece on 60 Minutes, wild accusations on bumper stickers and the like?

Heck, the word "Dubya" was commonly used, but if you call this guy "Barry" his supports come all unglued!

Pretty sure

January 18, 2014 at 7:55 pm
Lee Brett says:

Paul, I don't think that race has anything to do with the message of Mr. Campbell's op-ed here. The point is that we are too often divided into camps and we treat the other side like the enemy instead of engaging them with respectful and constructive discourse.

NC SPIN is a good example of how political discourse should be. There are folks from both sides who vehemently disagree, but who treat each other like neighbors and fellow citizens. We may not agree with our politicians' views, but personal attacks do nothing but denigrate the institutions that we all hold dear. Calling someone a "vile traitor," for example, does nothing constructive. It will not serve to accomplish anything. Whether you disagree with the President or not, he is the President and deserves at least a modicum of the respect that the office affords him. The same was true of President Bush, and it was similarly disrespectful when people called him a "liar" or a "traitor" then.

January 21, 2014 at 7:31 pm
Keith Clark says:

Tom is talking about something that seems to be lost in our nation, our state, and, especially in our communities. Even after the 1972 election in which Jim Holshouser was elected the state's first Republican governor in the Twentieth Century, divisions in the GOP persisted between Holshousers' primary opponent and Jim Gardner's ally Frank Rouse. Not many years later, Jim Holshouser and Frank, Rouse were in a hotel in Raleigh working for their common candidate for state party chairman at a GOP convention. Just a few years later, Holshouser was at the beck and call of then Lt. Governor Gardner. Without a doubt Jim Hunt and Jim Holshouser were political opponents during Holshouser's one term. But throughout the years that followed, Holshouser and Hunt frequently joined forces in support of causes and issues to do what they thought best for the state. Recalling this is a reminder the lessons that three Jim's taught us. They believed in what former Lt.Governor Dennis Wicker aptly describes as "serving the greater good". All four understood that political opponents need not become personal enemies. In the arithmetic of politics addition works better than subtraction.

January 30, 2014 at 9:43 am
Bobby Poon says:

A very good article exposing the "Moral Monday" crowd.Author Paul Chesser who publishes Carolinaplotthound.Why not have him on your show for a one on one interview.