This Is Not Your Father’s Bible Belt. Can Dems Make It Theirs?

OPINION — There’s a series of striking images in a televised ad for Dan McCready, who is seeking to represent North Carolina’s reliably conservative 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. It puts the candidate’s military record and faith front and center — not entirely surprising for someone vying for voters in a swath of the state that includes an affluent section of Charlotte, as well as parts of rural counties all the way to the Fayetteville area, with its strong military presence.

In the ad, McCready stands with his troops as an announcer states that after 9/11, he “was called to serve his country.” Then the scene shifts, and the narrative continues to describe the Marine Corps veteran as finding another calling when he was baptized “in the waters of the Euphrates River.”

He is the Democrat in the race.

Are Democratic candidates who steer clear of Obama pushing away black voters?

The third in a list of five myths about black voters by The Washington Post’s Nia-Malika Henderson is: Candidates who distance themselves from President Obama risk losing black voters. That may be a myth, because African Americans in the United States lived with compromise before they could even vote, much less vote for a black candidate for the top office in the country. But in this year’s midterm election, the loyal-for-the-most-part Democrats may mark their ballots with weary resignation and some dissatisfaction.

Is the South really as bad as a report says it is?

CHARLOTTE — When the headline is “Why the South is the worst place to live in the U.S.,” it’s an invitation to trash talk. But isn’t that what makes stories like this one in The Post so much fun? They are bound to unleash regional pride and get the blood flowing and the stereotypes flying in the comments section.

‘The Whipping Man’ sheds new light on slavery in America

In the program for “The Whipping Man” — a play that runs at Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte through March 9 — a guide translates phrases from Hebrew and defines Civil War-era terms. So, what’s going on? The work grew from the discovery by playwright and Civil War buff Matthew Lopez of a historical document that mentioned Passover beginning just after Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Through the story of two former slaves and their former master sharing Passover Seder while discovering the meaning of family, the Actor’s Theatre production lets audiences take a journey through a seldom explored aspect of the Civil War.

“It’s emotionally difficult but uplifting at the same time,” said director Chip Decker.

For Southern Democrats, all politics are local

Southern Democrats in Washington for the inauguration of President Obama on Monday celebrated as much as their counterpoints from across the country. But they also knew they had work to do, with GOP senators, governors and state legislatures cutting a bright red swath through the region. So they used an Inauguration Day gathering to launch South Forward, a program aimed at making gains for the Democratic Party by supporting local candidates.