Opinion: In North Carolina, the Good and Not-So-Good News

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s North Carolina, so, of course, the good news is followed by that pesky dark cloud every time.

You would think everyone in the state would welcome the end of the long saga over House Bill 2, the so-called bathroom bill, which was repealed recently in a compromise. That bill, which had compelled people to use the bathroom that corresponded to the gender on their birth certificates, also said cities could not follow Charlotte’s lead and enact their own anti-discrimination ordinances or a minimum wage and much more.

 

Jeff Sessions-Style Policing Makes Everyone Less Safe

The Trump administration is most comfortable with power and the powerful.

On the world stage, this attitude has taken the form of a relationship with Russia’s Vladimir Putin that is cozier than ones with traditional allies such as Germany’s Angela Merkel. That sentiment trickles down within America’s borders, as well, to Trump’s words on policing, where for the self-proclaimed “law and order” president, force wins out over conciliatory tactics every time — including in his own “get ’em out of here” rally cries that have resulted in his own legal headaches.

It’s no surprise, then, that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is following the Trump lead.

 

Opinion: Not So Fast, Democrats. You Had a Good Day, but Now What?

As the Republican Party has learned, it’s much easier to be the party of “no” than to actually have a plan to lead. So while Democrats are celebrating a GOP in disarray, the party out of power needs a message and a plan.

Understandably, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosicelebrated as the GOP’s new-and-improved health care plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failed. But long term, she must truly want to experience a return to the speaker’s post. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer knows just how to rile Donald Trump, his fellow New Yorker. But he still has to call Trump Mr. President.

So what happens the morning after the party, when all that remains are empty champagne bottles and a headache? f

Opinion: Art as Soul Food – A Tough Yet Essential Case to Make

… when most people think arts and humanities, it usually conjures something a little snooty, out of reach and not at all essential. Cue video of the Broadway “Hamilton” cast, with the approval of audience members who have paid hundreds of dollars for a ticket, lecturing Vice President Mike Pence, and it certainly confirms a stereotype.

Truly, though, as someone who has sat in those orchestra seats — and that’s a show that needs no help surviving — the road there was paved with more than a few federal dollars.

 

The GOP and White Evangelicals: A Forever Match?

Will a health care proposal that could toss “the least of these” off its rolls cause divisions between evangelicals uncomfortable with a close relationship with the Republican Party and those who feel just fine with the political association?

A shared anti-abortion stance, with the promise to appoint like-minded judges, has so far helped to keep the link between evangelicals and the GOP strong. But strains — along policy, generational, and racial lines — are showing within conservative faith groups, despite agreement on core beliefs.

 

We Need Robert Osborne to Tell Us This Is Only a Movie

Robert Osborne, why did you leave us when we need you most? The death this week of the Turner Classic Movies host only highlights, as political developments spiral from the unexpected to the unbelievable, that film may be the best outlet for explanation and escape.

What ‘Us Versus Them’ Looks Like Beyond America’s Borders

The problem is not “fake news.” It’s not enough news.

That point was made crystal clear during a trip this past week to South Africa, where a brief glance at the international programming on cable channels served as a corrective eye-opener. It was full of news and features barely glimpsed on many U.S. channels, and, in truth, they probably would not be ratings grabbers.

In the U.S., we are instead fed a diet of Beltway political intrigue and reports on the country’s partisan divide, with mere moments of in-depth reporting on what America can learn from other countries. In this narrative, “foreigners” are takers, not givers, and America has all the answers. We so often see “them” through the lens of “us.”

Is There a Reward at the End of the Democrats’ Long Slog?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The HKonJ protest this past weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina, may have been the largest such event, but it wasn’t the first time that thousands, with causes as diverse as the citizen-marchers themselves, showed up. For 11 years, with messages for both Republicans and Democrats, the faithful gathering at Historic Thousands on Jones Street have persisted.

There is a lesson for the dissatisfied, new to activism, who are now crowding town halls and filling the streets: Victories may never come, or may be incremental, at best. Each goal accomplished could be followed by a setback.

Are the protesters of 2017 in it for the long haul?

GOP Seeks a Safe Space From the Words of Coretta Scott King

For a party and an administration that ran on being tough guys, afraid of nothing and no one, and disdainful of “PC culture,” whatever that’s supposed to mean, Republicans are, like President Donald Trump, proving to be poster boys (and, yes, the crew is testosterone-heavy) for the perpetually offended, perfect pictures of bullies who crumble when one of their targets dares talk back. – See more at: http://www.rollcall.com/news/opinion/gop-seeks-safe-space-words-coretta-scott-king#sthash.JZ7IqwAt.dpuf

Black History Month Lessons for ‘Trump World’

Every year, when February rolls around, you hear the same questions: Why do we need a Black History Month? When is White History Month? (The answer to that second question is January through December, by the way.)

For the answer to the first, look no further than the movie that just picked up the top award from the Screen Actors Guild. “Hidden Figures” is about the African-American female mathematicians who helped propel the U.S. space program, and who were mostly left out of the history books and previous film accounts of NASA and the talents who made it soar. (John Glenn wouldn’t leave home without their trajectory equations.)

When people of color and women play more than token roles in the telling of this nation’s history, there will no longer be a need to remedy omissions with a designated month here and there.

In 2017, we are far from that moment.