Two ways to message

The N.C. General Assembly declined to pass HB-746 during its short session, which left one gun advocate livid. The proposed bill would have allowed concealed handguns to be carried without a permit. The bill came to the floor for consideration at the start of a week that would erupt in eight mass shootings in the U.S. that left 12 dead and seriously injured the U.S. House majority whip.

The NCGA’s decision disappointed Paul Valone, head of Grass Roots N.C., a lobbyist organization that pushes for easy access to all means of firearms. Valone had counted on the Republican-majority in the NCGA to vote in favor of the bill. To show his displeasure, he put out the word to rally some like-minded citizens to “jeer” at Republicans who did not vote in favor of the bill. The House passed the bill on June 8, but the Senate referred it to the Committee on Rules and Operations on June 12.

The group gathered at Halifax Mall outside the State Legislative Building on Aug. 3 when legislators reconvened for a special session. Valone introduced a mascot he named Squish the Magic R.I.N.O., dressed in a rhinoceros costume, which relates to the acronym for Republicans in Name Only, and unfurled a banner reading: “N.C. Senate R.I.N.O.s: Giving Gun Voters the Horn Since …?”

Valone’s intent to belittle and punish legislators, rather than simply make sure they heard his viewpoint, could very well have been induced by the example set by the sitting — or, more accurately, tweeting — U.S. president.

We have few role models to aspire to on the national political stage. Fortunately, as we head into the local election season, we do not have to resort to the gamesmanship and chicanery so common at the national and state levels.

Seven excellent candidates are competing for four seats on Town Council. (The incumbent mayor is running unopposed.) Two incumbent council members declined to run for re-election, so we have the potential for two new philosophies to join the discussions on what is best for our town.

I am so homesick for former President Obama’s dignity, transparency and intellect. I hope that the Town Council candidate forums and campaigns take the high road, as Obama did throughout his political career, and that local voters will be able to make decisions based on the issues, not on personalities, innuendo or reactions to “jeering.”
— Nancy Oates

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