Center right

Lately I've been thinking that my progressive views are actually quite moderate, maybe even slightly to the right of center.

In some areas, I know I straddle the middle. For example, I'd like to see health reform that gives people a public option, paid for by taxpayer dollars, while preserving whatever private insurance anyone might wish to buy. In the realm of public education, I'd like to see many more (and smaller) charter schools, so long as they are effectively overseen by the Department of Public Instruction.

In other areas, I'm very conservative. For example, I'm against deficit spending by the government. I don't think companies should be allowed to pollute our air and water. I don't think Duke Energy should stick ratepayers with the costs of cleaning up their coal-ash messes. I don't support government bailouts for property owners who choose to live in flood-prone areas or on barrier islands.

But there are also areas where you might say I'm liberal ... or perhaps libertarian. I support the right to bear arms as codified in the 2nd Amendment. I support repealing laws against marijuana use. I don't think companies should have to pay for employee health insurance. And I don't think the government should intervene between a woman and a doctor on any health issue, including reproductive choices.

Taken together, these positions put me in the mainstream. And, as it turns out, most people in North Carolina seem to agree with me. In last week's Democratic primary, for example, Biden and Bloomberg, who most would say are centrists, garnered 56% of the vote, while Sanders and Warren totaled only 34%.

On the flip side, those on the extreme right, as represented by today's Republican Party, seem to be badly out of step with what most people think. Only right-wing extremists think taxpayers should be paying millions upon millions of dollars to support Trump's golfing fetish. Only the most deplorable of voters believe the amount of federal debt Republicans are amassing is a good thing. And no one, except for pure red haters, thinks it's okay for politicians to lie to the people they represent. Even GOP "leaders" like Thom Tillis and Dan Forest condone the ugly spread of deceptive propaganda.

Many conservatives don't think these things are healthy, but they put up with them because (1) they're bigots and/or (2) their main political agenda is to repeal Roe v. Wade. I don't think it's any more complicated than that.

This year, I'm hoping that the vast, mostly silent, majority of voters rise up and say "enough is enough." The damage being done by right-wing extremists will require generations to fix. And for now, that means crushing the Republican party into oblivion. That's what I'm voting for.




I've read this blog for years without commenting a single time. I greatly appreciate all of the work that goes into this blog and have forwarded this blog o many in my network. I write tonight to address the concept of expanding local charter schools. I sincerely appreciate all of the information this blog provides people but must strongly and unequivocally disagree with James' desire to expand charter schools. I could go on about this in a manner with research and not not just hunches. Charters are, if you are familiar with the research I have seen, bad policy. Google Helen Ladd (Duke) or CREDO (Stanford) for more information. I know James is very intelligent but I disagree strongly, very intensely, with the charter school movement. I am as liberal a voter as you'll ever meet but refused to vote for Obama's re-election or for Hilary in 2016 because I can not support this misguided policy. I doubt I'll also vote for Biden this cycle either. Google his brother's name and charter schools in Florida to see what I mean. I am only a simple voter and have no ax to grind. The charter movement, from my perspective, is totally bad policy I can not support.


Thanks for weighing in

I've received a lot of blowback about the charter comment, so let explain myself a bit more. I'm not entirely convinced I have this right, but here goes.

One thing that has always bothered me about public schools is the scale at which we have to operate. Any school being built today is a massive facility, requiring many, many acres and lots of logistical needs.

I have been an advocate for small schools. Specifically, I have wanted interested public school teachers to be able to launch smaller schools that don't comply with all the current facility requirements that come with new public schools. People have told me that's not possible because of DPI bureaucracy, so I asked if charter schools might fit the bill.

To my mind, these small schools would be operated by DPI, having the same standards and requirements for student performance as traditional public schools, but without the massive physical plants those traditional schools require. The teachers would be employees of the city / county schools system.

In reading what I just wrote, I don't suppose I'm using the term "charter" correctly. Perhaps there's a better way to get at what I'm talking about.

I've written about this several times in the past. Any help you can offer in thinking it through would be welcome.

PS Thank you again for commenting. It's gratifying to hear you're a regular reader and it's very nice to virtually meet you.

PS I hope you'll reconsider

I'm coming to grips with the idea that Biden will be the Democratic nominee and am preparing to do anything I can to help him get elected. I don't agree with him in many areas, but that won't stop me from voting for him against Trump. I hope you'll at least consider doing the same.