Where is the middle? Voting the party line is getting us nowhere

By Ralph Walton - Retired Educator

The past few weeks have made me wonder if we need to simplify the election process. We could eliminate the primaries and just vote Democrat or Republican. We don’t need individuals in office as very few present individuals vote other than the party line. The cabinet hearings and votes are perfect examples. The outcomes are so predictable it seems the hearings are a complete waste of time.

Betsy DeVos as education secretary is the best example. A completely incompetent person was confirmed after only two of 52 Republicans realized what a mistake she was. Vice President Mike Pence just rubber-stamped the vote, following the party line. DeVos showed she knew nothing about education during the hearings — we need guns in schools to protect us from grizzly bears. Her only qualification is that she is a billionaire who has given huge donations to the Republicans, including our North Carolina senators.

Donald Trump said he was going to drain the swamp in Washington, but he has loaded it with his own version of the swamp. Kellyanne Conway has invented “alternative facts” when she tried to explain lies. Press Secretary Sean Spicer is a buffoon as he tries to explain other Trump rantings.

Maybe the scariest is Steve Bannon, who I believe is a proven racist and white supremacist supporter. His facial expressions appear to show him as a draconian figure. Another Trump adviser who has appeared is Stephen Miller, who says the president cannot be questioned. His mannerisms remind me of a person who is looking down at you with disdain, as if to say, “How dare you?” His resume includes starting an anti-Muslim group while a student at Duke.

Now Donald Trump is off playing golf at his resorts, costing the taxpayers millions of dollars. He is shown carousing while looking at the North Korean missile launch instead of in a private setting. But he was one of many Republicans who complained about President Obama playing too much golf. Last weekend he is held campaign events that cost the taxpayers many dollars.

Complaining about the media is the latest fad when the media catches Trump and his minions in all sorts of “alternative facts” situations. He seldom answers a question directly, either because he doesn’t know the answer or takes the question as a personal offense. This then sends him into a tirade blaming the media for all the confusion in his inner group. The media is certainly not perfect, but history has shown us that dismissing the media is a favorite tactic of dictatorial repressive governments.

North Carolina government is the same as our legislature, which is packed with those who see nothing but the party line. House Bill 2 has become one of the most divisive bills in N.C. history. We don’t really know if the bill could be repealed as the two leaders of the legislature feel they have the right to not bring the issue to a vote. It may be that the bill would not be repealed, but these two won’t even let a vote occur.

Our local, follow-the-line legislators have indicated they would not vote to repeal HB2. Hopefully, we have enough forward- thinking folks to realize this bill accomplishes nothing. It is costing the state many jobs, but the leaders in the legislature seem to have the power to keep us from finding out.

Our local politics has been in disarray for many years because of this same narrow-minded thinking but may be thawing somewhat.

The next thing we need to do is find middle-of-the-road-thinking individuals who we then elect to office to turn this country around. Insulting everybody and telling the world you are the only one that can solve problems is not the way. Let us find the lost middle ground and try to solve problems in a civil manner for the benefit of all of our citizens and not just the rich.

We need Eugene McCombs and Hall Steele.

Ralph Walton is a retired educator that currently lives in Rowan County.


By Ralph Walton

Retired Educator

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