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Call it Colbert World versus Fox World.
That’s where the WakeCounty schools debate is happening today.
This kind of division is nothing new in North Carolina politics. Go back to 1950: It’s been a 60-year war between conservatives (“racists,” as their opponents call them) and progressives (“socialists,” as their opponents call them.)
They’ve always had their competing views – and even their competing media.
For years, the conservatives had WRAL-TV and its nightly commentator, Jesse Helms. The progressives had the N&O and its editors, Jonathan Daniels and Claude Sitton.
But there’s a difference today.
At least both sides watched and read both WRAL and the N&O. Now each side has its own echo chamber, where they dismiss and ridicule the other side.
In the media universe, they exist in parallel words that never meet.
Not all supporters of the school board majority are racists who want to resegregate schools. There are parents genuinely upset by rolling school reassignments – and not sure whether that’s because of growth or social policy.
Not all opponents of the current board are liberal social engineers bent on diversity over education. They genuinely fear that WakeCounty may lose a treasure that helped make it a good place to live.
There seems to be no place – and no one – able to bridge the divide.


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3 comments on “Worlds Apart

  1. dap916 says:

    It was very rare to hear anyone in the Jesse Helms hayday referred to as being a “progressive”. This is not a new term…but the use of it in replacing the term “liberal” is new. One of my most favorite quotes by Jesse was as follows :

    “Conservatism is a hard choice for a society that has become accustomed to big government and big entitlements promoted by liberals.”
    Jesse Helms

    The 60-year war here in NC politically has been between conservatives and liberals. “progressive”? Like the saying goes…”A rose by any other name is still a rose”.

  2. Carbine says:

    There are no liberals in North Carolina, just those who think they are. And the irony is that those who most proudly fly the liberal flag are usually the most closed-minded of all, which is the exact opposite of the literal meaning of the word.

    Democracy, individual (as opposed to collective) rights and responsibilities, free markets…these are the finest fruit of mankind’s attempts to put liberalism into action. But the only people who seem to champion these ideas nowadays are those we call ‘conservatives.’ And not all who claim that title really know what it means.

  3. dap916 says:

    Pretty dead on, Carbine. Truth is, individualism and personal responsibility are actually thought of my many in not only NC but in our nation as asking too much for our population.

    I know the actual word “liberalism” is misused. You’ve stated that well here. However, those that SAY they’re “liberals” believe that what people that call themselves “conservative” are all about is wrong.

    It’s easy to put a label on anything…but, it’s not difficult to see what’s right and what’s wrong for our country. The left (I won’t call them liberals or progressives) has a vision for America that is just wrong. I think you and I can agree with that.

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