The very American Postal Service now a partisan pawn, with democracy at stake

When I was a little girl, the youngest of five children in a family with parents who made ends meet while never letting us see them sweat, the U.S. Postal Service was as welcome as Santa during the holidays. While dad was tending bar and waiting tables at parties after he signed off from his 9-to-5, mom picked up shifts at the post office, handling the packages and cards that swamped the system in December.

God bless the Postal Service, an essential piece of America’s history before it was America and included in the U.S. Constitution, which gave Congress the power “to establish post offices and post roads.” Founding father Benjamin Franklin was the first postmaster general under the Continental Congress, and a young Abraham Lincoln was appointed postmaster of New Salem, Illinois, in 1833.

Though African American postal workers experienced discrimination, they sought work and served despite routine and harsh obstacles. Well into the civil rights era, that federal job could be sustenance for African Americans locked out of corporate America. Among the postal force could be found many civil rights activists, such as John L. LeFlore, a letter carrier in Mobile, Alabama, from 1922 to 1965, and an NAACP organizer who fought for the desegregation of Mobile’s public schools and businesses and for voting and housing rights.

The post office has been a pathway to the middle class for many hardworking families of every race, and has delivered in urban centers and rural outposts without fear or favor, in snow and rain and heat and gloom of night and … you know the rest, to bring mail, medicine and more. Connections forged with letter carriers could be more personal than businesslike.

What’s not to like?

A lot, to listen to some of our country’s leaders, who seem determined to sabotage something that has been integral to the country’s development. This is at a time when the Postal Service could be crucial to the right to vote, which might explain one reason for the controversy — the No. 1 reason, perhaps.

In a Global Pandemic, North Carolina Finds a Way to Stand Out

North Carolina is never content playing second fiddle to any other state, for good or ill. Of course, that would be the case during a pandemic and its aftermath. A partial list: Any politicians out there being accused of taking advantage for personal gain? Check. Questions on how states will accommodate voters skittish about choosing between their health and their right to cast a ballot? Check. Fights over expanding Medicaid after a health crisis forces a hard look at who can and cannot count on insurance coverage? Check.

Oh, and a touch of Franklin Graham as a hero with reservations. Our state never disappoints.

Mary C. Curtis: Wisconsin Holds Primary During Pandemic

CHARLOTTE, NC — Despite a global pandemic, people lined up at the polls to cast their votes in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary.

The state supreme court blocked democratic governor Tony Evers’ bid to delay it until June.

Political contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in on the election and whether or not it was the right decision.

POLITICAL WRAP: Impeachment Trial; Voter Rights; UK Election

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – After this week’s impeachment vote, debate will continue over a possible Senate trial. Majority leader Mitch McConnell says he’d like it to go quickly. But President Trump has talked about calling witnesses, ranging from Hunter Biden, to the whistleblower, to Congressman Adam Schiff.

Also, this week voting rights are back in the spotlight after a ruling by a circuit court judge in Wisconsin. 234,000 voters, flagged as having possibly moved, will be taken off the registry. The ruling is expected to hurt Democrats in a state President Trump won in 2016.

And in the UK, a landslide victory for Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party. Johnson is promising to “Get Brexit Done,” while President Trump calls the election result a possible “harbinger of what’s to come” in the 202o U.S. election.

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: MLS Announcement Coming Tuesday; Murder Of NoDa Business Owner

Some of the stories we’ll cover on this week’s Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup…

dual announcement about Major League Soccer in Charlotte is expected on Tuesday by Mayor Vi Lyles and Panthers owner David Tepper. Charlotte is widely expected to receive the newest expansion team for MLS. We’ll talk about the week’s latest developments on soccer, including some possible team names.

The newly formed Truist Financial Corporation (formerly BB&T and SunTrust) is quickly making its mark on Uptown. The bank’s Charlotte headquarters will be in what’s now the Hearst Tower. They’ve bought the high rise for more than $450 million and will rename it the Truist Center.

Elyse Dashew is the new chair of the Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board. The vote was unanimous to make Dashew the new chair, after two terms as vice chair of the board.

The beloved co-owner of a favorite Charlotte sandwich shop was murdered this week in Charlotte, with robbery a likely motive, leaving family, friends and former customers to looking for answers, and remembering Scott Brooks. The killing is Charlotte’s 104th homicide of the year.

Although the Charlotte Catholic Diocese’s list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse has not yet been released, several announcements by the Diocese have been made in recent weeks involving accusations of misconduct by Charlotte clergy- including one this week from St Matthew Catholic Church, the Rev. Patrick Hoare, who has been placed on administrative leave following the announcement of the allegation.

Mike Collins and a panel of local journalists will fill you in on these stories and much more on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests:

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB-TV

Jonathan Lowe, anchor/reporter for Spectrum News

Joe Bruno, WSOC-TV Reporter

Ann Doss Helms, WFAE Education Reporter

This election, black voters will not lie low and take one for the team

OPINION — Republicans often say that the Democratic Party takes black voters for granted. They are right.

Of course, the GOP then does nothing to appeal to those voters. In fact, with the actions and words of its leaders on everything from gerrymandered districts (see North Carolina) to fair-housing enforcement (or the lack of it), the Republican Party, which once claimed broad support as the party of Lincoln, takes deliberate action to repel them.

So, election after election, Democrats count on GOP radioactivity to drive African Americans to vote for the “D.” What choice do they have, after all?

When does partisan gerrymandering cross the line?

OPINION — “I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats,” said Rep. David Lewis, a Republican member of the North Carolina general assembly’s redistricting committee. “So, I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for the country.”

He added: “I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats, because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.”

If that is not quite a smoking gun, it’s definitely toasty to the touch.

Will quotes like that — transparently revealing the politics behind a policy that favors one party — be enough for the Supreme Court to meddle in the political maneuvering of partisan gerrymandering? This week’s hearings take on a North Carolina case and its mirror in Maryland, where Democrats are accused of skewing a district.

Supreme Court Hears Arguments in NC Gerrymandering Case

CHARLOTTE, NC — Both Republicans and Democrats do it, that is, draw voting district maps that advantages their side when they have the power, in order to stay in power. But with data, research and computer mapping, it is more possible than ever for politicians to choose their voters, rather than the other way around. In cases from North Carolina and Maryland, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments on whether the practice of partisan gerrymandering has gone too far

GOP greets North Carolina election scandal with crickets, excuses and misdirection

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — America might know the name of the next president before voters in North Carolina’s 9th District have a representative in the House.

OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration.

But one sure thing is that Mark Harris, the Republican who thought he won last fall, attended an orientation for new members of Congress and was picking out an office — won’t be the new congressman. He cited health reasons in taking himself out of the race that has no end in sight.

If She Didn’t Give Up on Democracy, Neither Should We

OPINION — If you don’t know Rosanell Eaton’s name, it’s time to learn exactly who she was and why her life and life’s work matters. She is the antidote to the cynicism infecting politics in 2018, a hero of democracy when democracy is under siege. She cared about her country and its highest principles, demanded her basic human and civil rights and brought others along with her.

Rosanell Eaton would not take “no” for an answer.

Her 97 years of life were full of the kind of accomplishments and resistance that truly make America great. We can mourn Eaton, who died on Saturday, and then honor her by following her example.