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The North Carolina Gubernatorial debate

Gabriel A. Fraire / October 14, 2016

Did you watch the candidates for governor debate? Republican incumbent governor Pat McCrory and Democratic challenger Attorney General Roy Cooper went at it pretty hard, right from the start and they made no bones about where they stand on the issues.

House Bill 2, the controversial bill that requires transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender on their birth certificate, was right at the top of the list. Cooper promised to repeal the bill. McCrory stood strong on his position of supporting the bill.

McCrory actually blamed the controversy on Cooper and Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts for what he called “a major change in culture.” To which Cooper responded with, “Governor, what planet are you on?”

But in some way McCrory is right, it is a major change in the culture, the American culture has changed and we no longer tolerate discrimination against people’s sexual identity or preference. Regardless of how one feels about the LGBTQ community one has to remember that laws that discriminate against any one group for any reason sets a tone that allows for discrimination against all people.

Cooper seemed to hit on a subject many in North Carolina are thinking when he told the governor to stop blaming it on others. It seems that the governor refuses to accept the responsibility for any of the problems and issues facing North Carolina.

McCrory stayed his course noting the state needs HB2 to protect people’s privacy in restrooms. And when asked which bathroom should Caitlyn Jenner, the former Bruce Jenner, should use McCrory said that if she’s going to shower at UNC-Chapel Hill after running around the track, she’s going to use the men’s shower.

The candidates addressed abortion rights. McCrory defended a law that he signed that has been criticized by pro-choice supporters. Cooper is pro-reproductive rights and has said no politician should be in the medical examination room telling doctors what to say.

They talked about body-cameras. Asked if they support House Bill 972, which restricts the release of police videos, McCrory said he does. He called it a good balance of the need for public transparency and the integrity of investigations. Cooper said while he supports law enforcement officials, the presumption should be transparency.

When it comes to body cameras I can’t help thinking of the phrase conservatives have used forever when it comes to snooping on people and people’s rights to privacy – “If you’ve done nothing wrong, what do you have to hide?” I wonder why no conservative voices are crying that now in regards to body-cameras and making the videos public.

When McCrory was asked by moderator Chuck Todd why he continues to support Donald Trump, McCrory said he supports the Republican nominee’s stance on other issues. This is where I got a little confused, because we have yet to hear any report on the issues from Mr. Trump.
Cooper said that Gov. McCrory and Donald Trump are a lot alike. They both have trouble with the facts and they both engage in divisive rhetoric.
McCrory’s response was that Cooper supported Bill Clinton, who was also accused of sexual improprieties.

If anything, this debate should remind anyone watching that the governor is an “Old School” conservative in his political positions and policies. He’s on a quest to return North Carolina to the 1950s as evidenced by his continuous support of N.C.’s voter ID law, struck down this year by a federal court. He still supports it and claims the law does not discriminate even after a panel of federal judges found that the law targeted African Americans “with surgical precision.”

Some call it a debate; I saw it more as an honest representation of who these two men are. There is no doubt how each one feels on issues of extreme importance to North Carolinians. The true answer will be on Nov. 8 when North Carolinians have to decide which road do they wish to take, the one backwards or the one forwards.

Gabriel A. Fraire has been a writer more than 45 years. He is currently the copy editor of the Carolina Peacemaker. He can be reached through his Web site:


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Since 1967, the Carolina Peacemaker has served as North Carolina’s leading news weekly with a national reputation. Founded by Dr. John Kilimanjaro, the newspaper is published by Carolina Newspaper, Inc.

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