I am a proud North Carolinian, who has lived in this state for 40 of my 44 years (I was born on an Air Force Base in Mississippi, and did a post-doc in England). I am not surprised that Amendment 1 has passed tonight, since polls have shown this was going to occur for some time. However, as it has occurred, it makes me feel not angry, but sad, in the “we can do better than this” sense.
It is also the first time I have seen my kids be interested in politics, and my 11th grader especially has been passionately opposed to Amendment 1, and she is disappointed. It is hard to see her first interest in politics end in disappointment, but that is a part of life.
I wrote my reasons for voting against Amendment 1, and some gave me feedback that it was too nuanced. For my daughter it was a simple matter of being opposed to denying a particular groups’ civil rights; no nuance whatsoever. That leads me to believe that the Amendment and its result won’t last very long.
As I reflect on recent politics in North Carolina, I realize that by far the more shocking election result was Barack Obama winning this state in 2008 (by ~14,000 votes out of over 4 Million cast). I was a late adopter of President Obama, in part because I viewed Hillary Clinton as inevitable, but mostly because I didn’t think a Black man with a funny name could be elected President, and I wanted my side to win.
Four years ago tonight, the North Carolina primary essentially put the President over the top, and I voted for him in the Primary, but even as I went to a celebration party that night, I was worried that he could not win. Even as I started going door-to-door canvassing in the Summer of 2008 for the Obama campaign, I just didn’t really believe that he could win in North Carolina. Of course he did, and I felt so proud of North Carolina on election night 2008 because I felt like we as a State voted our hopes, and not our fears.
Tonight I think it is just the opposite, and I feel sad, but I still love North Carolina. I know we can do better, and I think we eventually will.