Point of View

Give McCrory credit for clearing NC pipes of clog-producing elitists

July 17, 2014 

You have to give Gov. Pat McCrory credit: He’s doing everything he can to stamp out elitism in our state. Given how many years we’ve spent having people do jobs they were educated and trained for – ending up with nothing but one of the fastest-growing economies and best places to live in the nation – it seems like a worthy experiment.

His most recent attack on the “elite” came when he appointed to the position of poet laureate someone who apparently has never published a poem she didn’t pay for. He said one of his goals is to “open up opportunities for people that aren’t always a part of the standard or even elite groups that have been in place for a long time.”

And you can’t disagree; he has demonstrated that time and again since his inauguration. Sure, you can point out that a good thing for inexperienced poets to do is practice writing poems, but that would be like suggesting that inexperienced, say, actors should, oh, I don’t know, practice acting. When of course commonsensical anti-elitism says that what you should do is give them Academy Awards rather than keep giving the prizes to the same old Meryl Streeps and Daniel Day-Lewises who have been clogging up the ranks for so long.

Same, obviously, with physics and chemistry. McCrory has shown himself world class at ignoring scientists on topics like climate change, but that just shows what a maverick iconoclast he is. Do you want all these so-called scientists to keep getting all the Nobel Prizes and Fulbrights? Pshaw. We should be giving them to people who like to think they have something to say about those subjects. Waiting until people have in some way proven themselves is exactly the opposite of good old-fashioned American anti-elitism.

People should get awards just for being alive – I don’t know how many Republicans I have heard making this point. It’s good to give people awards they haven’t earned. Let the rest of us have a chance! “Earning” is for elites. That’s like a basic Republican principle.

McCrory, again, has made this his rallying cry since his election. He hired a head of DENR who thinks oil is a renewable resource. Or look at his choice for DHHS Secretary, Aldona Wos. Just because Wos had no experience running a large health care bureaucracy was no reason to keep her from a job doing exactly that. I mean, the woman had been ambassador to Estonia, for crying out loud.

And look at what she has done since her appointment – not only sending tens of thousands of Medicaid cards to the wrong addresses, but ignoring the advice of places like the Kaiser Family Foundation and the RAND policy think tank because listening to people who actually study things is elitist. More, she was instrumental in hiring Matt McKillip and Ricky Diaz, two 24-year-olds with no experience doing much of anything, and paying them each more than $80,000 per year on her staff. That’s some prime anti-elitism right there.

And let’s not even talk about what McCrory has done to rid us of the elites who think just because they’ve trained and earned advanced degrees that they’re somehow entitled to be paid to teach our children.

You could go on, but if you can’t see the pattern by now, you’re just wearing your stupid hat.

Scott Huler of Raleigh is the author of six books of nonfiction. He was 2011 Piedmont Laureate.

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