Steve Church: The real pawns

March 18, 2013 

The real pawns

Promises, promises. According to the March 16 editorial “Dix as a pawn,” the N&O and state Democrats are furious over Republicans seeking to reverse the Dix plan for leasing the property to Raleigh for a destination park. Backers of the Dix Visionaries are genuinely outraged and shocked over these developments.

One group finding all the whining and pining childishly ironic is the real folks who have been used as pawns for a decade: our mentally ill. Dix’s premature closure highlights North Carolina’s dismal failure to fund, treat and house our most vulnerable.

With the 1998 Olmstead Act paving the way, Democrats eliminated hospital beds but never truly invested in community services that would keep patients closer to home. State leaders lied to the public and the media when they declared that no mental hospitals would be closed until those services were funded properly and working adequately.

So before you feel sorry for the park advocates or the Republicans opposing the deal as is, take a moment to reflect on those who cannot fend for themselves. Only they have a legitimate right to honestly feel shocked and outraged over Dix’s untimely takeover, no matter the outcome.

Steve Church


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