As many of you know, the Stokes County Board of Commissioners has passed a resolution urging members of the North Carolina General Assembly to pass no legislation that would legalize fracking until it can be fully demonstrated that it is safe for the environment. This comes as the state legislature passed Senate Bill 820, a bill co-sponsored by Senator Don East. Representative Bryan Holloway was one of only two Republicans in the House to vote against the bill.
While I agree with the members of the Stokes County Board of Commissioners and Rep. Holloway on a wide range of issues related to economic freedom through low taxes, low government spending, and eliminating crippling government regulations, I believe that these individuals have made a misguided decision and have not thoroughly investigated fracking.
So what is fracking? Fracking is the shortened name of hydraulic fracturing and is a process of fracturing the shale rock layer in the ground so that the natural gas in the rock will come up once the well is in place. But instead of me telling you the process, here’s a video of exactly what happens.
As you can see, the groundwater is completely protected from the fracking process by the steel casing.
The next charge against fracking that I found in the Winston Salem Journal and The Stokes News from citizens concerns the chemicals that are used during the process. Here’s a breakdown of what is used when fracturing the shale rock to get to the natural gas:
So where’s the other 0.5% coming from? Sodium chloride (found in table salt), ethylene glycol (used in household cleaners), borate salts (some of you are wearing that right now because it’s used in cosmetics), sodium/potassium carbonate (used in laundry detergent), guar gum (sounds scary, right? It’s used in ice cream), and finally isopropanol (used in deodorant). None of these chemicals will harm you, but once again, the steel tubing on the well is impermeable, so nothing is going to seep into your groundwater.
So what would cause citizens to be so concerned?
Well the fear of fracking comes from a documentary titled Gasland. In this film, the director shows how one family in a fracking town in Colorado has the ability to ignite their water in their kitchen sink.
But here’s what the filmmaker didn’t tell you – the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission found that methane gas had already been present in the groundwater of that town for decades and it was not related to fracking at all. They found that in 1976, a report was released determining that the aquifer had “troublesome amounts of methane.” Another report in 1983 states that “the methane rich gas commonly occurs in ground water in the Denver Basin of southern Colorado” where this family lives. Their own water well was drilled into a naturally occurring pocket of methane.
If fracking does take place in North Carolina, it will most likely affect the areas of Lee, Harnett, and Chatham Counties. Stokes County would be much further down the road assuming it will even happen at all.
The legislation is Senate Bill 820 and was passed in both chambers of the General Assembly. There’s obviously been a lot of confusion as to what the bill would actually do.
Here’s what the bill will: it will begin building a regulatory process for fracking. This process will take at least a couple of years to complete in order to put the right environment in place for fracking to even begin. It will create a commission to study the process of fracking and to setup environmental and safety protections. And for fracking to even begin, the demand will have to dramatically rise for natural gas, and when it does, it will happen in Lee County first.
So with all this said, why should fracking take place in North Carolina? For one, it produces natural gas, which is cleaner than oil or gasoline, and it emits half as much carbon dioxide, less than one-third the nitrogen oxides, and 1 percent as much sulfur oxides as coal combustion.
It costs 1/3 less to fill up a car with natural gas than traditional gasoline.
The United States is abundant in natural gas. Just to put it into perspective, according to a professor of geosciences at Penn State, there’s more natural gas lying underneath West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York than Saudi Arabia’s entire energy reserves. If that’s not energy independence, I don’t know what is.
Here’s the best part, fracking will generate a tremendous boom to our economy. Just look at North Dakota, a state which now relies heavily on the natural gas industry. North Dakota has a 2% unemployment rate.
And it’s not just good for energy sector jobs. Because there are so little houses in North Dakota and because of their influx in population, there aren’t enough houses for the people, so many of them are living in their cars in Walmart parking lots or in camps while houses are being constructed. Think of all the construction jobs that are being created and think of how much real estate companies are being able to profit from North Dakota.
Truck drivers are making six figure salaries in North Dakota because they’re in such high demand. McDonald’s employees are making $15 an hour because it’s one of only a few restaurant chains in the state and the company is having a hard time finding staff.
In Ohio, fracking has contributed $4.9 billion to the state’s economy.
North Dakota has created hundreds of thousands of jobs just in the energy sector alone in the past five years. This can happen in North Carolina, but instead we have elected officials that make comments like this one in the Winston-Salem Journal that “big oil comes and digs in Stokes County and takes what they can get, then pulls the drills out and says adios.” This is a scare tactic and is a play out of the Obama handbook of creating fear over “big oil.” Do any of you know what sector of the economy creates the most revenue for the federal government? BIG OIL!
And while we’re on the topic of big oil, why isn’t big environment ever mentioned? I don’t want big environment telling big oil that they can’t bring jobs to North Carolina and then have big oil leave and create jobs in another state like North Dakota.
Al Gore is set to become the first carbon billionaire because of the money he has profited from investing in green energy while scaring everyone into the theory of climate change.
Look at the Obama administration’s relationship with Solyndra. Solyndra, the green energy maker, contributed millions to the Obama campaign only to then receive a half a billion in tax money. The company then went bankrupt, but the Obama administration funneled more money into Solyndra so that the company wouldn’t fire employees before the 2010 Election. 1,100 employees didn’t realize that they would be fired once the election was over. Now is fracking the best solution to put America on the road to energy independence. No. But it is a solution and it is a good solution.
We need to be energy independent to create jobs and to keep more money at home instead of funding countries that don’t like us and don’t share our ideals. If someone on the left argues with you over energy policy in the United States (like fracking or the Keystone Pipeline), ask them these questions – Do you hate gays? Do you think women should be able to drive a car? Do you think women should have the right to vote?
Of course you know their answer, so then ask them – Then why do you insist on sending our money to Middle Eastern countries that kill gay people and where women have absolutely no rights to speak of. Ask them these questions. Make them think. If they said they do hate gays and think women shouldn't vote or drive, ask them what the frack is their problem, only use another word besides frack.
Sources:Energy from ShaleEnergy in DepthUSA Today - Unemployed? Go to North DakotaCharleston Daily Mail - Fracking boom for Ohio real estate
Many of you who voted against Amendment One are rightfully upset of the outcome. As we all know, democracy has its winners and its losers; we can't all get what we want.
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.
On Tuesday, I did my civic duty and cast my ballot early for the 2012 Primary. I showed up at my local public library and stood in line for roughly five minutes before I made it to a volunteer poll worker. As many of you realize, the people that volunteer for these types of things are retirees, typically over the age of seventy. This so happened to be the case for my early voting experience.
The retiree/volunteer had a laptop to checkoff voters. Now I don't know about your families, but my parents and grandmothers barely know what a computer is
, nonetheless how to successfully use one.
Be that as it may, the poll worker asked for my name, address, and birth date. Under current North Carolina law, poll workers do not need to see photo identification before giving a ballot to a voter. This needs to be changed and here's why:
There are two registered voters in Stokes County blessed with the name, Kyle Hall. One is me, Kyle E. Hall, the other is Kyle D. Hall, another registered Republican.
The poll worker printed off a sheet for me to sign verifying my information. It's a good thing I read it because I was getting ready to cast a ballot for Kyle D. Hall.
After I raised a fuss about it, the poll worker printed off a new form with my information. Who knows whether or not Kyle D. Hall can vote now or not. The computer system is going to show that Kyle D. Hall already voted. What if he shows up on Election Day, tries to vote, but can't because the system shows he has already voted? Who knows whether or not the poll worker went back into the system and cancelled Kyle D. Hall's vote? This problem could have been avoided had I been required to show a photo ID.
The poll worker could have read my information instead of me reciting it to her. She could have looked at my photo ID and seen that it was in fact Kyle E. Hall standing before her asking for a ballot.
However, opponents claim that voter ID laws are discriminatory and would impose an unfair barrier to those who less likely have photo IDs, including the poor and elderly. I don't buy it.
In today's world, you need photo ID for everything! At my job at Barnes and Noble, we are required to see photo ID when a customer uses a personal check AND when he/she uses a credit card. That's not discriminatory, that's just to make sure that he/she is the cardholder. It's called good business.
If you visit the State Capitol in Raleigh, you need a photo ID. If you travel by air, you need a photo ID. If you go to a UNC basketball game, you need a photo ID. If you purchase alcohol, you need a photo ID. I'm sure individuals in North Carolina have photo IDs to do most of these things, regardless of wealth or age. North Carolina has an online voter database
. Who's to say that you a crook can't memorize a name, address, and birth date and vote for another person? With voter turnout so low, all the crook has to do is look up someone's voter information and see when he voted last. If it's been a while, most likely that voter isn't going to vote in this election and the voter isn't going to know whether someone has voted for him or not. Now I'm not advocating for you to do this. My point is, voter fraud could be happening right now as you're reading this and the voter would have no clue. The solution: voter ID. If you're reading this, Kyle D. Hall, I'm sorry if you're turned away at the polls because someone has supposedly voted for you already. Just know that this could have been avoided had a) you either lived in a different county or b) our state had enough sense to pass a voter ID law.
So my first blog on why Obama has failed UNC students has been a huge success. I've received over 15,000 hits from all over the globe, over 100 tweets and Facebook posts, and "fan mail" from students who share my same ideals. For that, I thank you.
However, many of you disagreed with me that Obama's visit was a campaign event rather than an official presidential visit. I'm here to make a rebuttal to say that it was, in fact, a campaign event.
First of all, if anyone looked at the president's schedule on the day of the actual event, he/she would have seen the words "no public schedule." This seems odd for UNC students because we all knew on Friday, April 20th that the president was visiting. Even on Tuesday, April 24th, the day of his visit, his schedule was still closed to the public.
Why? Because it was not an official White House event. The event was sponsored by Obama for America.
Why else would Obama visit colleges in North Carolina, Colorado, and Iowa? Because they're all in swing states. Because he has to energize the disenchanted college voters. Because he has to suck in all the new voters who weren't able to support him in 2008.
In order to keep college student support, Obama has to preach to the choir and give them what they want to hear - I'm not going to raise your rates
. Obama does this, even though the rate increase would only apply to new student loans.
Current college students won't receive the increased rate; those starting after this year will.
Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have swayed away from this fact in order to appeal to college students. For instance, in his speech in Chapel Hill, Obama asked the students if anyone could "pay an extra $1,000 right now?"
I might also add that at anytime the chancellor of the university introduces a speaker on campus, it's a university-sponsored event. That's exactly what happened at the Obama campaign
rally. Would Mitt Romney be welcomed to UNC by Chancellor Thorp? I seriously doubt it.
In addition, if you look at Obama's campaign website today, you will see a glowing article about UNC Student Body President Will Leinmenstoll. In my opinion, the student body president, an individual who represents the entire student body, should never be part of a political campaign in which he/she uses his/her title. Never. Instead of finding another student to appear on Obama's website, the campaign used the student body president to make it appear as if UNC backs Obama. The campaign easily could have picked any of the other 8,000+ students that attended one of the events, but no, they picked Leinmenstoll. Leinmenstoll does not speak for the entire student body in supporting Barack Obama's possible reelection. If you were to really examine what increased rates on student loans will actually do, it only amounts to about $50 a month. If a student really cannot afford $50, I suggest less Starbucks and bar jumping. $50 is the equivalent of about 12 drinks from Starbucks (which for some is an underestimate for what they actually consume in a month) or about 8 pints of beer. Now I'm not totally on board with doubling rates. I'm just putting it into perspective. What I do know is that we have a debt crisis, folks. We've got to find ways to cut government spending and generate revenue. This doesn't mean we need to raise taxes. We've got to be more original than that.If we really want to talk about lowering the cost to attend college, let's begin a real discussion here at UNC on how we can cut costs. There's enough waste at UNC that can be cut in order to keep tuition low. We all know it.
Instead of tweeting your members of Congress, why not tweet Holden Thorp and ask him to find significant cuts? Why not write your state legislator and tell him/her where you see cuts that should be made? The real cost of college boils down to the states. They make the tuition decisions. This increase in student loan interest rates is being used as nothing more than a campaign tool. The economy is the real problem our candidates for president need to be concerned with. Finding jobs for college graduates; that's the challenge.
I thought I would share this blog written by my friend, Marc Seelinger. Amendment One is the
major issue on campus right now. I agree with Marc that it is completely wrong to use state materials to publicly oppose Amendment One:
It’s a well-known fact that the university and university departments aren’t supposed to take public stances on candidates for office or ballot initiatives. Indeed, NC General Statue 126-13
expressly forbids a state employee from “us[ing] the authority of his position, or utiliz[ing] State funds, supplies or vehicles to secure support for or oppose any candidate, party, or issue in an election involving candidates for office or party nominations, or affect the results thereof.” UNC policy also prohibits employees from using the “authority and prestige of position”
to affect the outcome of partisan elections.
All of this casts the use of the Campus Y Facebook account
and their official university website
(photos above) in an interesting light. TheCampus Y
, you’ll recall, is “under the Carolina Union umbrella
,” which is, in turn, a department under the Division of Student Affairs. So, this raises an interesting question: Is the Campus Y, an official department of the University, breaking the law by endorsing the opposition position on Amendment One? I think the answer is clearly “yes.” They are using the “authority and prestige” of their position to endorse a partisan issue. Additionally, the use of the official university website clearly violates the prohibition against using State funds and supplies in partisan elections.Simply put, this action is in clear violation of the law. It is absolutely shameful that UNC feels that it can simply ignore the law in order to make a political point.
Not only does this action reflect poorly on the University, it also reflects poorly on the anti-Amendment campaign, which apparently will resort to any means necessary to win.
President Obama visited UNC-Chapel Hill today to deliver a speech on student loans and to guest star on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
. Typical of UNC students, they went hysterical when they learned that Obama would be on campus. Thousands waited in lines to receive a ticket to either the rally or to Late Night
, many camping out overnight to get their "golden ticket." Also typical of UNC students, they felt that Obama's visit demonstrates that he "really cares about college students" and "he especially loves UNC."
Once again, UNC students are completely oblivious to the truth. Obama loves visiting UNC as much as he loves visiting the doctor for a colonoscopy. It's something he has
to do in order to win reelection. In order to win, Obama has to court North Carolinians again and hope that they turn out for him in the polls; if not, he's toast. In addition, Obama has to get his group of volunteers ready for November. And where is he going to find these volunteers? College campuses, of course. And what better college campus than the largest liberal campus in the state - my beloved UNC.
UNC students fell into his trap once again today. At the rally, students began chanting "four more years" and cheered anytime Obama opened his mouth. Then students were treated to a free live taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
with special guests Obama and Dave Matthews. What more could they ask for?
How about jobs? How about economic opportunities? How about a promise that they don't have to live in their parent's basement when they graduate? How about the promise of the American dream?
Once again, his speech was pointless and demonstrated his arrogance to the needs of the American people and the average college student.
In his speech, Obama pointed the blame directly on Republicans for not doing more to help college students. He cited that the Republicans in Congress are seeking to double the interest rates on federal student loans. He urged college students to step-up, write their legislators, and demand keeping rates where they are. He even encouraged students to tweet #dontdoublemyrate in an effort to swing members of Congress and a clear effort by Obama to appeal himself to college students.
Here's something UNC students didn't realize today and Obama failed to mention: while a US Senator, Obama missed not one, but TWO votes
on the student loan interest rate bill that he now wants Congress to pass.
Now all of a sudden, Obama is concerned about student loans. Why? Because it's an election year. Because he has to appeal to his base of college students. Because he has to win North Carolina.
In 2008, Obama won 66% of the youth vote. In North Carolina, 74% of young voters supported him. He has to do it again. All he has to do is utter the words "student loans" and he gets applause on college campuses.
But here's the truth. "It's the economy, stupid!"What's the point in arguing over interest rates on student loans when students can't find jobs to pay off those loans once they graduate? According to the Pew Research Center
, 54.3% of individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 have jobs. Only 54.3%?! One in four teens had a job in 2011, meaning 75% of teens will not have any
job experience when they enter college. This doesn't even cover underemployment rates.
The president needs to focus on creating jobs for students instead of wasting taxpayer money flying around campaigning for November.
#dontdobulemyrate on unemployment and underemployment, Mr. President.
In regards to student loans, Obama looked into the crowd of college students and said, "You don't like it. You don't like debt." Damn straight, I don't like debt. I don't like the government spending so much that my great-grandchildren will have to pay off the debt. I don't like it when the national debt is over $14 trillion. I don't like that we're in debt to the Chinese for the rest of my lifetime.
Straight out of his playbook, Obama continued to assert that he inherited this economy. In his speech, he claimed that it's not his fault for "the deficit they ran up the past decade." Need he be reminded that he had a supermajority in Congress his first two years in office? He could have done whatever he wanted.
If he has solutions for America now, why didn't he institute them two years ago?
Well, Obama can just tax the rich and the country's fiscal shape will be better. WRONG! But that's what Obama would have students believe at his rally when he advocated for everyone to pay their "fair share" in taxes. In reality, overtaxing the wealthy, the job creators
, will only further our country down a path of fiscal insolvency. When taxes are low for all income brackets, revenues are high. This has been proven throughout modern history with the Johnson tax cuts in 1964
(yes, liberal LBJ passed a tax cut - even more shocking, it was a Kennedy proposal), the Reagan tax cuts, and the Bush tax cuts.
Increasing taxes on anyone in a recession spells disaster for the world economy. If Obama really wants Americans to pay their "fair share" and if he really strives for tax equality, then here's what he should do. First, he should address the fact that 46% of households did not pay income taxes in 2011
. I say, if you want to live, work, learn, vote, and use government services in this country, you must pay something.
Second, if Obama wants equality, why not institute a flat tax? The rich would pay the same rate as the poor. It can't get anymore fair than that. Or even the Fair Tax, where taxation is based on consumption; the more you consume, the more you pay in taxes. Seems pretty logical to me.
Lastly, I want to address the Republican congresswoman that Obama quoted during his rally today in Chapel Hill. Here's what Obama said:“She said she had ‘very little tolerance for people who tell me they graduate with debt because there’s no reason for that.’ I’m just quoting here...the students who rack up student loan debt are just ‘sitting on their butts having opportunity dumped in your lap.’ I’m reading it here. I didn’t make this up.”
The congresswoman he quoted is Rep. Virginia Foxx
(R-NC 5). The quotation from Obama came from a recent radio interview Foxx did. Here's what Foxx actually said
:"I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there’s no reason for that. We live in an opportunity society and people are forgetting that. I remind folks all the time that the Declaration of Independence says ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ You don’t sit on your butt and have it dumped in your lap."
Obama clearly misquoted Virginia Foxx in a way to paint Republicans as hatemongers who care nothing for college students. In reality, Republicans do care about college students
. And to blow every UNC student's mind, Mitt Romney actually supports keeping the interest rates on student loans where they are now, it's not an Obama invention.
I'll give Obama some credit, he's a great campaigner. He has been able to get millions of people to fall into his trap so easily a caveman could do it. Conservatives need to realize this.
Conservatives need to be in-line with the newest social media technologies. They need to have a strong presence on every college campus across America. They need to go out there and spread the truth: that Obama isn't working
I urge all fellow college students to avoid falling into the Obama trap. To not be subjected to Obama and his liberal ways that have further destroyed our economy, our national prominence, and the American Dream. To avoid the temptation of becoming an Obama zombie
I hope my fellow students enjoyed waiting hours in line to get tickets to see President Obama for his 20 minutes worth of speech. If he wins reelection (God help us), their line waiting was great practice for the line waiting they will have to do in the soup lines
When I was in Student Congress, one of the items I did not fund was t-shirts for organizations and events. Funding t-shirts seem to be one of the biggest pieces of waste in Student Government spending. If you look at the 93rd Session of Student Congress, we spent about $4,000 for "rape-free zone" t-shirts to hand out to students for "free." It was such a great message to convey to students: today, UNC is a rape-free zone; every other day, it's your problem.
Here's why I hate t-shirts: there's one for everything. You ran a 5K. Congratulations! Have a t-shirt. You want to find out about why you should vote against Amendment One. Great! Have a t-shirt (even if you support the amendment). You've never raped anybody? Fantastic! Have a t-shirt. It's utterly ridiculous.
Students don't do things for the common good anymore, they expect something for their efforts. I'm sure if you were to do a study of participation in student-sponsored charity events, no one would participate unless a t-shirt or something "free" was involved. Why should I waste my time for charity for no reward when I could be at Kildaire's enjoying $2 drafts?
Do you know which group of people in American society do so much work for the common good, yet receive little recognition for it? The brave men and women of the armed forces. They risk their lives to protect our freedoms. Without them, we wouldn't be able to debate whether or not to add a same-sex marriage amendment to the state constitution because we wouldn't have the freedom to vote and voice our opinions. And what do they ask for in return? Nothing.
The Amendment One protesters really have my blood pressure skyrocketing, too. I have not chosen a side in this fight yet. One way student canvassers can forget my vote is to see them getting free t-shirts, professional photo shoots, free food, and a spot to put on their resume saying they "contributed to society" (even though they're really preaching to the choir in Chapel Hill). At the same time, they're closing the dialogue, not opening it.
Just today I read an editorial that urged students not to attend a Christian meeting on campus because the organizers are asking attendees to support the amendment. Who are the close minded ones now? I'm glad your parents are paying thousands of dollars to send you to school only to learn how to convey one viewpoint instead of reaching out and hearing both sides.
In addition, the protesters on campus are painting those who do support Amendment One as "hatemongers," "bigots," "homophobic," and "backward" when really they're none of these. When protesters of the amendment came to Student Congress asking us to make a resolution on their behalf, they urged members to not "spread hate" and to consider how we wanted "history to view us." Who again are the hatemongers? Some do have conflicting viewpoints. Why must you argue that they are on the wrong side of history when it is their core conviction to support the amendment?
Supporters of the amendment simply want to preserve the traditional family. Why can't we simply have an intelligent discussion so both sides can be heard? I know one thing; the supporters of Amendment One will never have the voice it needs in Chapel Hill. It's really a shame. The town that is supposed to be so inclusive excludes open, active dialogue.
So let's stop demanding t-shirts and let's have real open dialogue on campus.
Like most North Carolinians and hardcore UNC fans, I completed a bracket for the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and submitted it to a few contests. Prior to writing this blog, I noticed that I'm in third place out of 100 people in one. Looking closely at my contenders, I realized that I'm destined to win it, too. Why? Because I picked Kentucky to win it all, whereas my fellow contenders (typical UNC students) picked UNC. I had already realized that this year's UNC team does not qualify as a championship team. Wait! Before you get all hissy and leave my page forever, let me explain myself.
In 2009, everyone knew that UNC was going to win the national championship title or at least make it to the final four. Why? Because UNC had Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, and Danny Green; a powerhouse team with a 34-4 record and consistently ranked in the top five throughout the 2008-09 season.
Although we now have a powerhouse team with Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall, and Stilman White, there just hasn't been that spark the 2009 team had. UNC's record is 32-6. Considering that we lost to Florida State twice, Kentucky, and UNLV (of all places), it was pretty obvious to me that we would not make it to the championship. I did think that the Tar Heels would make it to the final four, but enduring multiple injuries doesn't help matters.
I'm not devoting this blog to argue the case for my bracket. Notice from the title that it's the "politics of bracketology" that I'm discussing.
Barack Obama filled out his bracket like he typically does. Despite the fact that we have massive unemployment, a declining economy, a war, and millions on food stamps, Obama manages to find time to fill out a stupid bracket as if Americans really care who he's going to pick. Or so I thought.
While sitting in my state and local government lecture, I overheard a group of girls discussing Obama's bracket. There's no question that UNC students adore Obama like a fat kid adores cake. Despite youth unemployment hovering around 16% and the student loans they will have to payoff after graduating, students at UNC still think Obama's the best thing since the pill. One of the girls said to the others that since Obama picked UNC to win the tournament, it must mean that "he really loves us
." Give me a break
. If the girl looked at Obama's bracket, she'll see that politics has everything
to do with his picks. Obama's final four teams are UNC, Ohio State, Missouri, and Kentucky. With the exception of Kentucky (which he probably picked just because they're ranked number one in the nation), all the college
teams that he picked are located in swing states
for the 2012 Election
There's no doubt that Ohio has consistently been a swing state in modern presidential elections. Unlike a lot of states where determining which party it's going to support in the election is easy, Ohio changes party allegiances every election cycle. In 2008, Democrat; in 2004, Republican; in 2000, Republican; in 1996, Democrat. Ohio suffers from ADD when it comes to selecting the president. Whichever candidate wins Ohio traditionally wins the election. With 20 Electoral College votes up for grabs there, it's no wonder Obama wants the state like a little girl wants a pony.
Missouri is mildly important to the Obama campaign. Obama barely lost the state in 2008 to John McCain. In fact, he lost Missouri by only 3,632 votes. Obama eyes Missouri like a kleptomaniac eyes a jewelry store. And with 11 Electoral College votes there, it's no slim pickings.
Now on to the big one; my beloved home state, North Carolina. The Tar Heel state had been dark red since the first election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. But then 2008 came along. Obama won North Carolina by only 14,000 votes
. Where did his support come from? I'll argue that it was from two groups: African Americans and college students.
African Americans in the state came out in droves, many registering to vote for the fist time in their lives, hoping to elect the first black president. For most voters, his platform didn't matter, all that mattered was his physical qualities and the promise of fulfilling Dr. King's dream of a colorblind society.
95% of African Americans voted for Obama. How truly colorblind is our society when candidates are elected based solely off his/her skin color?
This question is an entirely different topic altogether, but consider what Paul Waldman wrote in leftist American Prospect
in 2008:"If Obama were to become president, the symbolic value of him taking the oath of office - a multi-racial man who was partly raised overseas in a Muslim country - would provide such an extraordinary contrast with his predecessor, the very embodiment of what many see as the worst of America in all his ignorance, arrogance, and parochialism, that it would instantly suck the life out of a good portion of the anti-Americanism that has presented such an obstacle in recent years."
In order to win North Carolina again, Obama will have to appeal to his loyal 2008 supporters again. But why would they care this go around? They already elected the first black president. They did what they wanted to do. This is Obama's biggest worry. Obama losing the black vote in North Carolina is as scary as John Edwards getting a gray hair
North Carolina college students are Obama's next biggest supporters. Without them and their hard slave work (I mean volunteer campaign work), he probably would have lost the state to McCain. There's no doubt that college students love Obama as much as a teenage girl loves Twilight
. One student proclaimed in her local newspaper after Obama won the 2008 Election:"It's probably the most excited I've ever been in my entire life. I seriously think I had an emotional seizure or something. My whole body seized up. I couldn't breathe. It's like I really mattered...I picked the president! That was me!...I think I'm in love with America right now!"
On Election Night, college students stormed their quads to celebrate. I remember a high school friend calling me to rub the election results in my face. While she was completely wasted and running around like a moron on her college campus, I was sitting in bed restless, worrying about the future of our country.
So what does Obama have to do to win North Carolina in 2012? Easy. He has to win over college students again. He has to establish his base of slaves to go door-to-door, make phone calls, and drive impoverished voters to the polls.
And how will he do that? The same way he always has. Act cool and hip. Promise students a bunch of government programs that are supposed to save their lives. Promise them free health care, free college, and free contraception. Play basketball with their favorite college team (like he did in 2008
). Or maybe Obama can pick the North Carolina university that gave him his biggest base of support and say that their basketball team is his favorite to win the NCAA tournament so that those students can then proclaim that he "must really like us." GENIUS!
To conclude, my bracket isn't the typical bracket of a UNC student. I had enough basketball sense to realize that UNC was unfortunately not going to make it to the championship (this year
), which they didn't (thanks Kansas). On the other hand, Obama's bracket is totally political. His bracket is set to prove that he's a common man that you'd want to have a beer with; all in an attempt to win your vote in 2012. More importantly, it's an attempt to win some college students back to his side; to continue working for him like little unpaid slaves.
I applaud Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul for not making brackets and publicizing them to the entire world. They have more important things to do, like trying to save our country from total destruction. Obama on the other hand, has the time to fill out pointless basketball brackets instead of doing his job. Don't believe these gimmicks