Bless your heart to the state legislature for your allowing college Id's for voter identification. Likely 99% of all...

North Carolina ready for a little Christmas

Tom Campbell

Tom Campbell


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Have you driven around North Carolina recently? More people have decorated with outdoor lights, blowups and festive displays than we’ve seen in years.

I believe I know why. It’s been a really hard year. Folks feel beaten up, burned out and bankrupted. They are weary, pessimistic and don’t much trust anyone or any organization.

Our state has had an especially troubled 2018. Hurricanes, floods and even a snowstorm battered us badly. Our farmers are experiencing the worst conditions since perhaps The Great Depression. Just as crops were ready for harvest, Hurricane Florence drowned many of them. This “perfect storm” was completed by the combination of tariffs and a crash in the price of corn, soybeans, pork and other farm products. Other businesses, like tourism, retailing and fishing also suffered losses, and it will be years before we forget roadsides piled high with family possessions ruined by flooding.

For a short time we came together as a state to help those affected. Neighbor helped neighbor, strangers showed up providing acts of kindness and people opened their pocketbooks and their hearts for others. It gave us hope there are indeed better angels among us. Sadly, that help and spirit waned too soon.

Political storms were as bad. In my 50-plus years covering North Carolina I cannot remember a time when the public discourse was worse. Political leaders seem more consumed by tribal politics than by common sense or the common good. Compromise has become so rare that we marvel on those occasions when it actually occurs. “Gotcha” politics rules the day; one can only win if the other loses. Disruptions, lawsuits, name-calling and ugliness are the new normal.

We are so accustomed to the current climate that we don’t realize how numbed we’ve become. We can’t seem to remember when it was commonplace to speak a kind word, to let someone in line ahead of us, to reach out a hand of help, to genuinely care for others or to live in the belief that tomorrow will be better.

I leave it to you to decide if these are just ramblings from a septuagenarian who longs for simpler, happier times or if, as I suspect, they are accurate representations of the life and times in which we live today.

After the year we’ve just experienced we want to believe, we long for warm relationships and want respite from the stream of what we see and hear around us. And maybe it is a false hope, but even if for just a few days, we yearn for that feeling of rightness with others and our world. So we string lights and decorations, wear tacky sweaters and other clothing, binge out on Hallmark movies and listen to continuous Christmas music on the radio.

In his wonderful adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, North Carolina’s great showman Ira David Wood, portraying Ebenezer Scrooge, leads his character and the audience to the conclusion that we need a little Christmas. Indeed, we do.

For Christians, Christmas means hope on the horizon, but people of all faiths seek the hope that believing in something bigger than ourselves brings. Our wish is that you find the joy, peace, hope and contentment of this season.

As Tiny Tim says, “God bless us, every one.”

Tom Campbell is former assistant state treasurer and creator and host of NC SPIN, a statewide panel discussion that airs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday on UNC-TV and 10 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday on the North Carolina Channel.Contact him at www.ncspin.com.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

March 21, 2019

The state treasurer and the N.C. Healthcare Association can't reach consensus over how to pay for health insurance for state employees. The governor and some legislative leaders are advocating Medicaid expansion to cover an additional 600,000 people.

The debate, proposals, and arguments have…


March 20, 2019

According to CNN Business, "Facebook, YouTube and Twitter struggle to deal with New Zealand shooting video."

"Deal with" is code for "censor on demand by governments and activist organizations who oppose public access to information that hasn't first been thoroughly vetted for conformity to their…


March 19, 2019

It was one of the deadliest years in the history of North Carolina’s prison system. Five prison employees were killed in two incidents at state prisons in 2017. Given the way our prisons were staffed and the guards were trained and equipped, we should have seen it coming.

The two incidents…

March 19, 2019

"America is addicted to political contempt."

I'm not sure I've ever read a more accurate diagnosis of what we're looking at in the United States right now.

I'm quoting from a new book by Arthur C. Brooks, "Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America From the Culture of Contempt." I had…


March 19, 2019

The N.C. House has taken a long overdue step toward transparency, voting unanimously to add online video streaming of its sessions — so North Carolinians across the state can watch their government in action without driving to Raleigh.

The legislature currently offers online audio streams of…

Colin Campbell

March 18, 2019

American states and localities are, on the whole, administered more responsibly than the federal government is. Their superiority has nothing to do with the qualities of individuals involved. Indeed, many federal politicians were once state or local politicians.

The difference is institutional.…

john hood.jpg

March 17, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's, D-Calif., announcement that she is "not for impeachment" has caused resistance on the left. Pelosi is not trying to protect President Trump. She is trying to protect the Democratic Party from its lunatic fringe. It's an increasingly difficult challenge.

Pelosi is the…


March 17, 2019

On Feb. 12, Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka "El Chapo," was convicted of multiple crimes related to running the Sinaloa drug cartel, Mexico's largest. Thirteen days before his conviction, authorities seized enough of the synthetic opioid called fentanyl for 100 million lethal doses. It was hidden in a…

George Will

March 17, 2019

When President Trump signed the tax cut bill around the end of 2017, the most significant pro-growth legislation since the 1980s, the U.S. economy took off like an Atlas rocket.

Employment rose, unemployment sank, consumer spending surged, the stock market shot up, and the U.S. economy was back in…


March 16, 2019

The Washington Post

The best that can be said for President Trump’s $4.75 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2020 is that it has no chance of becoming law. This is almost always true of presidential budgets, because ultimately Congress does the nitty-gritty work on spending legislation. Even by…

288 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 29
        Next Page»   Last Page»