The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

October 2, 2012

A Call for Civility this Election Season

Dr. Jerry E. McGee for the SNAP

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 — The writer is a life-long  Carolinian, the longest serving University president in the state, recent inductee into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame, author of two books and recipient of The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest civilian honor.

The two national political conventions are in our rearview mirror.  In one of them, Charlotte shined in the world spotlight.  And now we have less than five weeks until we’ll be asked to vote in a very crucial election.

We in North Carolina have an opportunity to do this right.

As a native North Carolinian, I’ve always thought there was wholesomeness about our state – especially when it comes to politics and government – that you don’t see in other states.

There have been some elections in my lifetime when I was not particularly pleased with the choices we had on the ballot – whether red, blue or green.

But this time I think is unique.  In the race for governor we have two very fine candidates who have strong credentials.  

One served a record seven terms as mayor of Charlotte, our state’s largest city.  Another served in the General Assembly and as lieutenant governor for four years.

They have the experience.  They have the character traits we’re looking for in a leader.  And no matter which one of these two candidates is elected, I’m going to feel good about our state.   

We have two very fine people who have offered themselves to serve North Carolina.  We owe them decency.  We need to treat them in an honorable way.

If you’re a Walter Dalton supporter, give your money, put out campaign signs, talk to your friends and back your candidate.  If you support Pat McCrory on the other hand, I encourage you to do the same.

But there’s no reason and no justification for being mean spirited.  There’s no reason to drag either one of these two fine and honorable public servants through the mud.  They deserve better.  North Carolina deserves better.

There have been a few statewide elections in my lifetime when the name-calling got particularly ugly.  Even to this day, it’s an embarrassment to those who remember the vitriol.  

When I think back on those races – I knew the candidates personally and respected each one of them – no one deserved the harm he received.  And I think everybody involved feels badly about it now.

Let’s not let that happen again in this 2012 governor’s race.

Because of the attention the presidential campaigns are giving North Carolina and due to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, the world will be watching us like never before.