Paul Hardin: In mourning

June 14, 2013 

Mourning progressives

My wife and I are native Tar Heels, having grown up, between us, in 13 North Carolina towns, moving often with our Methodist minister fathers, mothers and siblings.

Imagine our shock when, as we stood in Raleigh with hundreds of other native North Carolinians gathered in peaceful protest of the actions of our General Assembly, we learned that our governor was characterizing the protesters as “outsiders.”

We are accustomed to better governors – and to politicians following their better angels. As a former UNC-CH chancellor, I served under two governors, Democrat Jim Hunt and Republican Jim Martin, and I could tell no significant difference in their caring for public and private education and for all North Carolinians, regardless of race, color or financial circumstances. In that respect, Martin reminded me of former Republican Gov. James Holshouser and Hunt of former Democratic Gov. Terry Sanford.

How I mourn the near absence of the bipartisan government that for decades made our state the most respected in the South!

Lawmakers need to come out of those chambers and mingle with these peaceful protesters. They will find that protest, Tar Heel-style, is overwhelmingly local and vastly encouraging. The plea of the demonstrators is for fair play – no more, no less.

Paul Hardin, Chapel Hill

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