However, the beauty of living in a democracy is that nothing is ever set in stone. Citizens have an outstanding ability to make fundamental changes in policy. In other words, to all of you disappointed North Carolinians, you have an opportunity to organize, energize, and educate the public about the issue that you are so passionate about.
I'm not devoting this post to discuss Amendment One. What I am going to do is discuss how those disappointed in its outcome are disappointing me by not taking pride in being a Tar Heel.
When I flipped through my news feed on Facebook after the election results, I read countless status updates from North Carolinians that I found disgraceful. I want to just share a few of those:
"I have never been ashamed of the state I call home until today."
"NC is making my personal conflict about staying here or moving North after I have finished school much easier."
"I'm sad to say that I'm ashamed of where I'm from, where I am."
"Can't wait to move out of North Carolina. Such close minded rednecks"
"Well, at least I'm moving back to a free state next year. If I were a North Carolinian, I would be embarrassed."
I'm proud to be from North Carolina no matter what. I've never been to another state where I feel so much of an attachment to the people, places, and things like I do in North Carolina. Where else can you drive on a country road and the driver in the opposite lane waves even though you're a complete stranger? Where else can you enjoy the mountains, cities, and beaches? Where else can you eat barbeque (a noun, not a verb) and wash it down with sweet tea or, better yet, Cheerwine?
There's no question why so many people are moving to the Old North State and why so many people want to stay here.
But to those who posted statuses like the ones above, think about this before you make the misguided decision to leave or criticize your home state:
The term "Tar Heel state" is derived from the Civil War. North Carolina troops outnumbered those of other Confederate states in terms of enlistment and deaths. Although we reluctantly decided to fight for the Confederate cause, we did so at a high price.
The North Carolina troops were resilient in battle. Despite being outnumbered by Union forces, the North Carolina troops held their ground as if they had tar on their heels. In response, General Robert E. Lee proclaimed, "God bless the Tar Heel boys."
True Tar Heels never give up. They never stop fighting.
This is the message that the opposition to Amendment One need to utilize. Despite losing and despite being outnumbered, never quit and never run away from your beliefs.
If you love North Carolina, fight for it. Prove how much you love it.
I travel a lot across the state. The only counties that I noticed any significant opposition to Amendment One was in major counties (i.e. Wake, Durham, Orange, Forsyth, etc.). If the opposition wanted to win, believed strongly in the cause, they should have worked harder and reached out to other areas. They should have had a grassroots movement in all 100 counties educating the voters on the impact of Amendment One. They failed to do so.
In Stokes County, a very social conservative area, I saw one "Vote No" sign. Why? I guess it's because the opposition didn't take the time to campaign in Stokes County. They didn't feel it was worth their time or effort campaigning in a county they thought was a place for "close minded rednecks." You know what happens when you ass-u-me.
Every voter is important in an election.
The opposition relied too much on college students in the state when they should have expanded their reach. They should have reached out to voters in places like Stokes County.
Here's a couple more status posts I saw:
"If you voted for it (Amendment One), you should be ashamed of yourself"
"Death to my hometown."
Everyone has their opinions on same sex marriage. No one necessarily has a right or wrong answer. To some, preserving traditional marriage is important to them. They have strong convictions that span across religions. There's nothing wrong with that. On the other side, there are those that want equal rights and don't care if two males or two females marry as long as they're happy. There's nothing wrong with that.
What is wrong is for the two sides to openly criticize the character and morals of individuals of the opposing viewpoint. That's not what we do in America. We all have conflicting opinions; that's what makes America the great melting pot. But we don't openly criticize individuals based on their convictions just because we don't see eye to eye.
I hope by reading these Facebook posts, you can understand my frustration.
Some on my news feed did have respectful comments to make about Amendment One's ratification. Although they were disappointed in the outcome, they didn't go to the extremes like the above did. Some used rational reasoning and some began posting about repealing Amendment One. More power to them.
In a democracy like ours, time causes opinions to change. Just look at the Edenton Tea Party in 1774. As one of the first organized women's political actions, fifty-one women stood in opposition to "taxation without representation" after decades supporting the British crown. Despite the social setback of being a minority in the 18th century, women organized and fought for a cause they felt was right; a cause bigger than self.
Tar Heels fight for the causes they believe in.
To the opposition of Amendment One, if you believe in your cause, you will fight for it. To the supporters of Amendment One, you will fight to preserve it. To both sides, be open-minded and listen to your neighbors' opinions.
I'm unequivocally proud to be a Tar Heel. You should be, too.