Up & Coming Weekly

December 01, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 8 of 24

8 UCW DECEMBER 2-8, 2020 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM JOHN HOOD, Chairman of the John Locke Foundation. Contributing Writer. COMMENTS? Editor@upand- comingweekly.com. 910-484-6200 OPINION Let's disagree more constuctively by JOHN HOOD People are funny, but some are just plain foolish by WEEKS PARKER When the Associated Press and other news organi- zations asked North Carolina voters for their per- spectives on the just-concluded 2020 elections, there was no shortage of disagreement. No surprise there. After all, Donald Trump won the state by just 1.3 percentage points. om Tillis won reelection by 1.8 points. Most other statewide races were decided by narrow margins, too. e two major parties start with roughly comparable bases of about 46%. Variations in turnout and appeal to swing vot- ers tip the balance, usually not by much. So, you'd expect North Carolinians to disagree on many issues. And you'd be right. But get this: when AP asked how important it was for the next president to "bring the country together," an astounding 79% said it was "very important." Another 19% said it was "somewhat important." In other words, almost every voter believes our political discourse needs to change. We want our leaders to bring people together, not tear us apart. But what does that really mean? As with all poll results, it is important to recognize that the precise wording of a question has a lot to do with the answer — and that we often do not interpret the same words in the same manner. In this case, what does it mean to "bring the coun- try together"? Some believe the problem is political disagreement itself. ey believe their views on edu- cation, taxes, health care, the economy, and other issues are obviously correct. If their fellow citizens would finally "see the light," so to speak, and adopt these correct views, that would bring the country together. Well, yes. And if I were from Krypton, I'd be faster than a speeding bullet. But Krypton isn't a real place (or, at least, that's the official story — and I'm sticking to it). Nor is it realistic to expect North Carolinians, or Americans, or any human population to reach overwhelming agreement about the proper size, scope, and policies of government. Democratic republics produce inherently conten- tious and messy politics. at's what the American republic looked like in its early days, too. While the Constitutional Convention of 1787 produced a re- markable governing document for the United States, for example, it was itself the product of contentious debate and hard-won compromises. Its complex structure was designed to accommodate conflict- ing views: central authority vs. devolved authority, executive power vs. legislative power, the rule of the majority vs. the rights of the minority. And consider this: what most Americans think of today as the most-important part of the Constitu- tion, the Bill of Rights, was added to appease the opponents of the Constitution who might otherwise have derailed its ratification in multiple states (and actually did so in North Carolina, which wasn't in the constitutional union when George Washington was first elected president). What I think most North Carolinians mean by "bringing the country together" — and what is the only meaning that yields a practical goal — is that we ought to stop reflexively and viciously questioning the motives, integrity, or intelligence of those with whom we disagree. I think our president, lawmakers, governors, and other leaders should model this behavior for the rest of us. at's why I helped found the North Carolina Leadership Forum in 2015. Based at Duke University, NCLF fosters constructive engagement across politi- cal difference. Each year, we bring together some three-dozen leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sec- tors to delve deeply into a contentious issue over a series of candid conversations. Sometimes we find common ground. Even when we don't, participants come away with a clearer understanding of why oth- ers may, in good faith, disagree with them. From mu- tual respect comes better behavior. We truly argue, rather than just bicker. Want some good news? Twenty-four NCLF alumni were elected or reelected this year to statewide, legislative, or local offices. Others already serve in municipal office or exercise political influence in some other fashion. In the coming months and years, they'll help bring us together — which is, it seems, what the vast ma- jority of us desire. From 1954 through 1961, Art Linkletter produced a marvelous television series called "People are Funny." If that show were still on television today it might be titled "People are Foolish." Almost daily there are reports of new cases of the coronavirus all over the world. Despite the warnings to stay out of crowds and always wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, and use disinfecting tissues on anything you touch, some people who don't like being told what they can and cannot do refuse to follow these life-saving rules. People who willfully refuse to use plain old common sense are not only harming them- selves and their families, but they are also a definite threat to those of us who are cautious and follow sound advice from medical doctors. If you come near someone who sneezes, you need to run away from them as quickly as possible, because a single sneeze is so powerful it can travel as far as 200 feet. is is about two thirds the distance of a football field, and about the distance between your house and four houses down the street. It is foolish to attend ball games, bowling alleys, bingo games, or any other places where there are a large number of people. It is similar to going into a building that is on fire, because there is a good chance you will be burned. Last summer many foolish college students re- fused to wear face masks as they crowded the beach- es and had a good time being close to their friends. A few days later, many of these students tested positive for the coronavirus. Some schools that opened this fall had to quickly close because both teachers and students tested positive for the virus. Some churches that refused to follow sound medical advice also had to close when members of their staff and congrega- tion became deathly sick with the coronavirus. As long as people refuse to use logic and obey simple rules, we will continue to see an increase in the coronavirus pandemic. It is also unwise to attend family gatherings this holiday season, because you never know who in your group might be carrying the virus that could so easily infect you and your fam- ily. Because the coronavirus is rapidly increasing all over America, the CDC recommended that we should avoid traveling for anksgiving, because it could greatly increase the spread of the virus. Risky behavior in November could affect us all [in a worse way] in a month – around Christmas time. We should be very thankful that there is now a vaccine that could make us immune to this terrible virus that is now overflowing our hospitals and caus- ing us to be confined to our homes. Although the new vaccine , which is said to be about 95% effec- tive, may soon be available, it may not be available to everyone until many months later. Just because there is now a new vaccine, should not make anyone become less cautious about following the rules and guidelines recommended by medical doctors. We can never be too careful. ere is an old saying that "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." We definitely should continue wearing masks, and staying away from people until the coronavirus is totally eradicated. e reason many people continually do things that help spread this deadly virus is the fact that they are extremely bored. Many people have no interest in anything but watching the garbage that is now on many television programs as they fill their bodies with junk food that will cause them to gain lots of unwanted weight. All they like to do is overeat, sleep and watch television when they could be doing constructive things like reading a good book, clean- ing their house, watching educational television. ey could greatly help other people, especially their elderly friends, who would enjoy a telephone call from them to cheer them up during these depres- sive times. at phone call could also improve the outlook of the caller. When we help other people, we also help ourselves. We should also spend some time in prayer for those who have the virus and for the families of those who have died from it. WEEKS PARKER., Contributing writer. COMMENTS? Editor@upand- comingweekly.com. 910-484-6200.

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