Myth or Reality

Ruby Sinreich's picture

I have been wondering for some time now how "liberal" Chapel Hill really is. It often seems as if our progressive reputation somehow gives us permission to do things we otherwise would be challenged for (like Nixon going to China).

For example, of all the critical issues addressed by the Town Council the one that I have seen bring the absolute biggest number of passionate protesters to Town Halln was the elimination of back-yard pick up. It was like armageddon would be upon us as soon as we rolled our garbage to the curb. In addition, the continued attempts to whitewash downtown so that suburbanites will feel more comfortable parking their large cars while ignoring the poverty that results from their greed is another prime example.

Finally, this very website has been deluged with postings from readers ranging from Republican to Libertarian. Progressive voices here are few. I suspect this may not be representative of the readership, or maybe I'm just deluded by the myth of a left-leaning community.

So a reader suggested that we ask this question: Is Chapel Hill really as liberal as it thinks it is? Where did that reputation come from and where has the reality gone?

issue: 

Total votes: 0

46 Comments

Todd, I think capitalist

Todd,

I think capitalist pigs should be made into socialist footballs.Actually, I myself am involved in capitalism as the owner of a small construction company. At this level (and especially in construction) it is the free market at its most chaotic. Of course, I use the term free market loosely since our economy is run by and for large corporations which have rigged the game indisputably in their favor. Those who accept and celebrate this system I would call capitalist pigs and they constitute a great danger to nature and humanity, even if some of them are kind to their pets.

Mark

Todd---you ask---Did it ever

Todd---you ask---Did it ever occur to you that we capitalists pigs actually contribute to the community too?

well, quite a few of the candidates running for president do seem to think that JOBS are a good thing for the economy, so you may have something there.............

Ruby--To come back to your

Ruby--To come back to your original question. There are a number of different meanings to the words liberal or progressive. There are the social issues--gay rights, abortion, prayer in school, environomentalism---in this respect,I think, Chapel Hill is a very liberal community compared to most of this state/country. As far as I know, teachers at the high schools aren't terrified of kids running home to their parents and telling them the teacher said something bad about the US, or mentioned evolution. Then there is the racial issue, i.e. a general trend for this country to not define itself as a white person's country anymore. Should this trend be slowed down, accelerated, left at the same pace? I'd say people in Chapel Hill give some lip service to liberal positions in this respect, but the town is about the same as the rest of the country in terms of actual results--the largely African American neighborhood is ghettoized, Latinos are mostly visible working their asses off at construction sites... Then there is the question of whether you regard the stuff of the world, and the products people make out of that stuff, as basically social wealth to used collectively and wisely, or whether you believe formulations about 'my money' are meaningful. I don't see much evidence that Chapel Hill is different from the rest of the country in this respect. Certainly people who think in terms of collectively producing something worthwhile out of a town haven't been too effective here--compare downtown Chapel Hill to Asheville or Carrboro. I don't know a great deal about this town's politics, so I 'm just guessing. Perhaps people in the liberal camp had as their goal a downtown in which parking lots abut the main street, and in which retail seems dominated by sales of t-shirts for the university's basketball team. But usually, these would be an indication of the triumph of a capitalist mentality, i.e. whoever has the bucks, buys their way into influence, shapes the urban space.

I went to grad school in a deindustrialized, shrinking city--Binghamton. An hour away was the college town paradise of Ithaca. A friend of mine used to say that when the revolution comes, the people of Binghamton will greet the liberating army with roses, while Ithaca will need to be conquered block by block. Substitute Durham for Binghamton, and Chapel Hill for Ithaca, and you have more or less the same story.

Todd--he wasn't razzing the

Todd--he wasn't razzing the Village Pride Awards--although I'm glad someone else was confused; I feel a TAD less stupid now. Actually, the confusion is pretty easy to understand--The Village Pride Awards are "A Celebration of Gratitiude to those Recognized in 2003 for making a difference." The language is almost identical to that used inthe "top 50" list---which one was unable to GET to unless one is a subscriber to the HS.

I thought the VP Awards were a nice idea...and was pleased by the breadth and depth of community diversity represented.

melanie

I won a Village Pride Award

I won a Village Pride Award and I am a money grobbing capitalist. I also sat next to two other Republicans at the award lunch Sunday. In fact, the person in charge of the selection committee is also a Republican, so it's a big scam I guess Mark.

Did it ever occur to you that we capitalists pigs actually contribute to the community too?

It seems like this area is

It seems like this area is very attractive to the arts community and many vaguely associated people who live at the edges of our society's narrow social norms. Many of these people are of modest means. It has been the case for many years that such people end up being more attracted to Carrboro and Hillsborough because of the lower cost of real estate (whether rented or bought).

The effect has been dramatic in Carrboro. We see the results in the realms of politics, commerce and art. I predict that one day we will see such results in Hillsborough. I am not really passing judgement on the situation; I just think that this is what is happening.

Still, I don't think either Chapel Hill or Carrboro is as left-wing as people believe.

My bad. I thought we were

My bad. I thought we were talking about the Village Pride Awards--when I finally got to the article (I had to go dig out my HS account number--you must be a subscriber to link to archived articles--the Independant's assertion that they are free not-withstanding, I realized my mistake.

Here is the list--I am copying it because not everyone subscribes...

WCHL'S TOP50

Fifty who made a difference, in alphabetical order:

Anne Barnes

Reese Berryhill

Bill Blake

Hilliard Caldwell

Orville Campbell

Moses Carey

Anne Cates

Rebecca Clark

The Danzigers (Papa, Ted, Bebe)

Rick and Jill Edens

Bob Epting

William and Ida Friday

J.P. Goforth

Joe Hackney

Frances Hargraves

Joe Hakan

Jim Heavner

Watts Hill, Sr.

Jean Holcomb

Cal Horton

Jonathan Howes

Robert Humphreys

Trish Hunt

Charles Jones

Ellie Kinnaird

Frank Kenan

Gaitha Lassiter

Howard Lee

J.R. Manley

Eddie Mann

Shirley Marshall

Joe Nassif

Peg Owens

Neil Pederson

Lindy Pendergrass

Mel and Zora Rashkis

Hubert Robinson

Mary Scroggs

Robert Seymour

Jim Shumaker

Carl Smith

Dean Smith

R.D. Smith

Pearson Stewart

Gene Strowd

Jimmy Wallace

Adelaide Walters

Jim Webb

Stick and Teresa Williams

Bob Woodruff

Mark, my apologies. As to how you feel about teachers, I amde a stupid assumprion that because you think schools are in the business of turning out corporate worker bees, you would have the same contempt for the peole who turn OUT the worker bees. It was unfair of me.

Sorry--next time I will RTFA...no matter HOW difficult it is t get to!

BUT the Village Pride Awards WERE pretty cool--a nice lunch for people selected--who make a difference (large or small) in our everyday lives...(I went as a guest.)

Here is the link, if y'all want to nominate someone!

http://www.villageprideawards.org/letter.html

Melanie (bloodied, but not cowed, willing to admit I flew off the handle before I READ the article.)

Could it be that Mark's

Could it be that Mark's language is unclear? For example, in reference to the original list he says "when the community collectively recognizes people and organizations who have contributed to the success of the community." And yet according to the rest of his post, Dan Coleman's article, and Ruby's defense this wasn't a list developed "collectively" by the community. It represented the viewpoint of its developers.

The problem with such lists, including Dan Coleman's, is that without a well-developed and clearly communicated selection methodology, they come across as a popularity or status contest. Calling the people on the list names (middle-of-the-road staus quo purveyors and business interest promoters) is not progressive or humane behavior.

Hold on, Melanie! Of

Hold on, Melanie! Of course there were some good folks on the list. There were also many who were quite debatable. Some whose impact in the community I might even categorize as more harm than good, or neutral at best.

The list was widely crtitiqued around the community at the time. Granted, it's the nature of such lists that they can't be unanimous, and that's fine. I don't think Mark said anything that hasn't been said by lots of other people, so there's no need to get all offended at him.

For example here's Dan Coleman's response to it, which I thought was pretty good: http://indyweek.com/durham/2003-02-19/first.html

I really don't think it's fair or productive to call Mark "divisive" just for not agreeing with you or with people you like. If you agreed on everything, what would be the point of talking?

Let's just say there were a

Let's just say there were a lot of people who have played very important roles in making this a more progressive community who were left off. People like Ruby, Dan Coleman, Rick Hermanson, Greg Gangi, Dawn Peebles, Joyce Brown, and on and on. Dan actually wrote a piece for the Independent responding to the WCHL list. Actually i thought the list was a bit "divisive & derisive".

Melanie,

How do I feel about teachers? I don't recall stating how I feel about teachers. Unlike Secretary Page, the head of our compulsory state school system, I don't consider them terrorists...

Mark

Terri--actuallly-- I DID

Terri--actuallly-- I DID that! I had actually gotten a page that SAID "internal server error, unable to process post, please alert webmaster"--or words to that effect. I think the internet gremlins are just after me today!

Melanie

Chapel Hill is certainly

Chapel Hill is certainly more progressive than a lot places, but it is interesting to note that local progressive leaders and groups are basically ignored when the community collectively recognizes people and organizations who have contributed to the success of the community. Most recently, the Chapel Hill Herald and WCHL appointed a committee to come up with a list of 50 (I think) people who were instrumental in making Chapel Hill a great community. Basically, it was a list of middle-of-the-road staus quo purveyors and business interest promoters. So if one measure of a community's progressive nature is whether or not it is comfortable collectively acknowledging it, then we don't make the grade.

Mark

Mark-- EXCUSE ME? One of my

Mark--

EXCUSE ME? One of my dear friends, Paige Barnett, was on that list--and I don't think she qualifies as EITHER a "status quo purveyors" OR a "business interest promoters." She's a rockin' Girl Scout Leader, and organized and directed a production of Fiddler on the Roof that drew participation from the entire community--whether as actors, orchestra members, or audience. It was performed at United Church of Chapel Hill, but the participation was not limited to church members. AND it raised $72,000 for the Friederich's Ataxia Research Alliance. Here is a link with pictures...http://www.unitedchurch.org/fiddler/index.html

The elderly ladies who garden on Ghimghoul were honored. I suppose one might consider hem "status quo"--but they certainly provide a great service every spring. The list includes people who volunteer for Habitat, withthe IFC, Clyde Jones, a slew of teachers (well, we know how you feel about TEACHERS) the director of the Wheels for Work program, dentists who went to South America and provided dental services there, The director of the Piedmont Wildlife center...Peace Activist, the list goes on and on. Yes, there ARE some business owners...but the majority are NOT.

Why would you say something so divisive and derisive?

melanie

Sorry if I overdid it, Ruby.

Sorry if I overdid it, Ruby. (I'm also sorry to my socialist friends, whose local politics are more eclectic -- and in many cases, NOT hypocritical.)

It seems you and I share many of the same goals, as well as the sense that we can do better than present. I don't want to push too far in asserting our consensus, because we certainly have our disagreements, but I'm grateful for this thread on core principles in theory and practice.

Just for the record--the

Just for the record--the site ate my 8:46 post...some sort of "internal server error." And a Honda Odyssey, while NOT as efficient as a Prius, is certainly not as INefficient as a "Canyonero." Gas efficiency was ONE of the reasons I chose the beast. Along with it's ability to haul as many as 6 15 year-old boys at once. Which I have done on more thatn one occasion.

Joal's comment is an excellent one--I've been after the schools to raise their expectations of ALL children for years...in a developmentally appropriate manner. (The new push for kids to be reading by the end of kindergarden s ridiculous--but the topic of another discussion.)

I've never been bothered by the panhandlers as a general group--they usually leave you alone if you offer to buy them food. Interestingly--I don't recall most of the panhandlers being people of color--I'd say it's split 50/50--or maybe 60/40--with the 60 being white folk. And I'm NOT including the Krishnas. I go downtown all the time. I just wish there were better parking available on the West End...

Of COURSE Chapel Hill "isn't as liberal as it thinks it is." I've never thought CH WAS all that liberal. We are only liberal in comparison with the rest of the state. It's pretty easy to be "liberal" in NC! We look positively conservative compared to Madison--which, if you analyzed the voting records, probably isn't as liberal as IT thinks it is.

Ruby--sorry you feel the Libertarians and (gasp!) Republicans have hi-jacked your site.

Melanie

I like Donna's description

I like Donna's description of what she believes, but think it would be more powerful without the labels of liberal and progressive--which place a negative connotation on anyone who thinks differently than she does. Labelling is a form of generalization--which is antithetical to the "progressive" concept.

The Wikipedia entry for Progressive

""Progressive" is used in place of liberal to best describe philosophical ideals that are opposite and contrasted to those held by conservatives. Political ideas that advocate rapid social change are likely to be progressive, while conservative ideas tend to reflect an adherence to established norms and support for (or furtherance of) status quo interests. Continuing logically, by this spectrum, a philosophy that advocated reversing course to previous standards would be regressive, though this term is rarely used. Instead, the term reactionary is more frequently used to describe those who wish to adhere to established convention."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressivism

Ruby--compared with other

Ruby--compared with other parts of the county/state we are very progressive...on pretty much all fronts. Compared with the state of Massachusetts--particularly the Boston area, we are hide-bound conservatives. Compared with Saudi Arabia, even the most conservatitve city in America is "progressive." It's all relative.

I, for one, think some form of basic, universal healh care (including dental and psyhciatric coverage) is imperative. I'm willing to help pay for it, as well. I support Chapel Hill's "Free" bus service--though I wish Council would quit referring to it as "free"--because SOMEONE is paying for it. I'm a rabid supporter of Public Schools. (and Joal--some of us have been talking about the problem of low expectations all along--it just gets lost in the noise).

I DON'T, however, believe government can solve all of society's ills. Nor do I think it should try...because it generally does a poor job. Look at the "small business loan" mess over in Durham--as an example.

SO--we probably don't "deserve" our "progressive" label. But I wonder if any town does? MAYBE Madison Wisconsin.

As to your poor site being deluged with Republicans and Libertarians--sorry. Maybe we should just keep quiet for awhile and let you fine progressives talk amongst yourselves?

Melanie

Jeff, I thought I made it

Jeff, I thought I made it clear that I don't consider myself typical and this question is not about me, but about the community. I mention the S-word only to indicate how out-of-step I am, OK?

Joal's questions get much more effectively at what I was trying to ask. And Donna answered them very well!

I have a real concern that many of our values stop at our front doors. Folks support ideas in theory but are not willing to accept or support real change. Personally, I think fighting sprawl, feeding the homeless, creating equal education, and building affordable housing have all demonstrated this phenomena recently.

Ruby, Thanks for getting

Ruby,

Thanks for getting this line started. For one thing some of the answers you have received do answer your question. Chapel Hill is not as liberal as it thinks it is because a lot of times we don't think. We get into our safety zone and fight anyone and anything that would take it away. And I won't say that people in Chapel Hill and Carrboro are not thinkers, I just think sometimes they are much quicker reactors.

So for example the people on this post who have so quickly defended their decision to buy and drive whatever car they are currently driving, no matter how big and live where they live. Most everyone was quite good at defending their decisions. I thus don't understand why they assumed they were the people Ruby was first referencing. Is there no one in this area who might Ruby's description. Is there no one driving around in a Black Expedition cause it just looks good (enviroment, be damned) In their quick defense of their own decision they ignore the fact that even if they personally have a slew of reasons why they can't fit themselves and their stuff in a smaller more efficient car, they ignore the point that we believe that we live in an area where people would consider issues of the enviroment when purchasing a car in this area, but when I look around at the overwhelming number of gas guzzling super broncos on the road I have to stop and wonder, need or want? And of course there are many that would question, does that matter? If someone can afford it and wants it shouldn't they have it. I can't say they shouldn't have it, I just think that line of logic is not terribly progressive. (By the way I prefer the term progressive since it connotes a movement rather than staking out some stationary point and defending it or the loosey goosey ness of the word liberal)

I am also interested in peoples reactions to ruby's comment about what is going on downtown.

"continued attempts to whitewash downtown so that suburbanites will feel more comfortable " Maybe all you people who work with the less forturnate did not recognize which town action Ruby was referring to. The town of chapel hill has now criminalized the act of homeless people socliciting money(if it occurs after a certain time). The reason given for this action was safety, even though there was no given connection between socliciting money on the streets and increased crime. There were already aggressive panhandling laws on the books to allow police to protect people from harassment. Bottom line people, the majority of the people on Franklin Street asking for money are poor black people. The idea of this law would be that if these people could not ask for money after sundown and would disappear, people with money could go to the movies, dinner, shopping without having to deal with those pesky black folk. Last I heard the shelter, county mental health, and other social service institutions had not come up with extra resources or a solution to the problem these people were trying patch temporarily with our spare change.

Ruby's question is are we trully an area where we think about the community and all its inhabitants rich and poor when we are making our decisions. Are we a community that promotes diversity, both of thought and individuals. Are we a community that works for and supports issues, which might impinge on our personal freedoms, while allowing a greater good. Ruby, we have created some really good legacies as a town and also some stinkers. Chapel Hill and Carrboro have things about them that keep some amazing citizens here and keep some other amazing citizens from living here. I don't think the area is as "liberal" as we might think. I prefer we not just accept the status quo, but be true progressives, constantly acessing our relationship to our neighbors and our enviroment and truly putting forth a our best efforts to be fair and just in our treatment of both.

Instead of the monikers

Instead of the monikers progressive, liberal, and conservative, the question should be what sacrifices if any are we as a community willing to make, to insure that everyone has an opportunity to the same quality of life? Where was the outcry when the two minority students talked about the low expectations that the School District employees expected of them? We had more comments regarding the elimination of the advanced classes in middle schools. When do we start to recognize we are all connected on this boat called Orange County, and what affects one will affect another. Social justice means changing the paradigm if you win, I lose.

When many of us call

When many of us call ourselves progressives, we're not up to semantic tricks. We're advocating pragmatic methods to improve individual lives, society, and the environment (green and developed both). We want a fair, efficient, and open society.

We share the philosopher John Rawls' concern for people born or raised or fallen in the worst circumstances, and we want to extend hope and opportunity to those people. We go back a generation more to FDR's four freedoms -- freedom of speech and religion, freedom from fear and want. We believe that personal and legal freedoms should extend to sexuality and beyond.

We resist dogma and rigidity. And we acknowledge the trade-off's between different progressive outcomes -- in our place and times, that is often a choice between affordability and environmentalism.

Progressivism overlaps with socialism, but they are not synonymous. I want universal health care, but I do not want a national health care system, and there are several European hybrid models for us to emulate.

I am a progressive; I am not a socialist. I don't think there should be an undue stigma around the word "socialism," but beyond Chapel Hill and a few other places in the U.S., there is. If your point, Ruby, is to distinguish those who share most of your agenda, whatever that is, from those who share only parts (or none) of it, then you need another moniker, be it socialism or urbanism or some other more a propos -ism.

NOOOOOO! If drafted, I will

NOOOOOO! If drafted, I will not run. IF elected, I will not serve--I don't DO boards and comissions or public office. I learned my lesson when I was "drafted" as one of the UCCH memebers to the Chapel Hill Daycare Board (a hundred years ago) and ended up (I'm still not certain HOW) as President. Scarred for life....

Melanie

Ruby - while at the Maxwell

Ruby - while at the Maxwell School (Syracuse U) years ago, one of the giants in the field of Public Administration, Prof. Dwight Waldo, always told us when you get the kind of questions with concepts like you raise, ask two questions: 1). Would you please define your terms; and 2). Would you tell us, compared to what?

I think it means whatever

I think it means whatever you want it to mean, Fred. Everyody seems to have their own definition, and it varies in context.

Personally, I often identify with the term "progressive." I think of "liberal" as like Bill Clinton, and he's way too moderate for my taste. But then again, I also identify with the term "socialist" so I'm not much of a political yardstick.

So how do people in town identify themselves, and how accurate is it? Maybe I'm being hipocritical trying to judge and be more-liberal-than-thou. I guess I'm just trying to figure out if the reputation is still warranted. It doesn't seem like it to me.

Jim David (comedian) had a

Jim David (comedian) had a great line--"I can't be a Democrat because I like to spend the money I make. I can't be a Republican because I like to spend the money on drugs and whores."

Not that I've spent any on drugs OR whores recently.

I'm not sure where I fall on the progressive/liberal/conservative continuum...I just object to being classified, period.

I drive an Odyssey minivan--and I live within walking distance of U-Mall--does that make me a big-car-driving suburbanite? My minivan is my pick-up truck, teen hauling bad-ass machine. I haven't been a soccer mom for YEARS...thank God. The church I go to is Open and Afirming--and I think gay people should be able to get married. That makes me a godless commie hippie. I think kids do better with two parents (of whatever sex)--does that make me a heartless conservative? I don't give money to the homeless. I give it to the shelter/IFC/Food Bank, and offer to buy panhandlers food. Interestingly enough, they (the panhandlers) seldom take me up on the food offer.

So Ruby--classify me! I am in dire need of classification...

Melanie

Just to clarify the back

Just to clarify the back yard pick up issue--a large number of those who were upset were 1) older and/or 2) lived on a steep grade so that pushing/pulling a large trash can(s) was physically difficult.

Although I dislike being classified, I will admit to being one of those socially liberal, fiscally conservative persons someone mentioned. That means that I care about the social climate of the community, including homelessness, stray animals, and environmental protection, but I'm not going to support initiatives, even in those areas, that where there has not been some kind of impact analysis conducted. I was that way back in the 70s and 80s too.

I just wish that the power

I just wish that the power structures in place in Chapel Hill would move over and make way for sensible and data-driven ideas even when they appear to contradict the "nice" and "kind" and supposedly good-hearted and well-meaning philosophies in place............especially in the schools.

liberal? conservative? Who cares. what we need is tolerance of sensible approaches.

I don't think Chapel Hill is

I don't think Chapel Hill is as liberal as some think. Then again, not everyone defines "liberal" the same. For example, my mother-in-law thinks I am a liberal because I recycle, use cloth diapers instead of disposables, and base my votes on issues instead of staight party voting...Go figure

Trish = Suburanite who owns

Trish = Suburanite who owns large car. I refuse to apologize for my large car because my LARGE shelter-adopted dog won't fit in anything else, along with my child, luggage, etc. when I travel. Non-Greedy. Assist at IFC kitchen over the last 8 or so years, happy to help out those in need. I am not happy to help out those who CHOOSE not to work.

Ruby, I think using

Ruby, I think using "liberal" and "progressive" in a seemingly interchangeable way is a serious mistake. The problem with all these labels is that they define points on a political spectrum that not only shifts, but many people behave in such variable ways that they are not fixed at points on that spectrum. Such labels have difficulty dealing with people who are social liberals and fiscal conservatives. If you ask them, they may even claim that they are the true “progressives.”

But when you say, “In addition, the continued attempts to whitewash downtown so that suburbanites will feel more comfortable parking their large cars while ignoring the poverty that results from their greed is another prime example,” you loose a lot of credibility. Pretty gross generalization, don’t you think? I know people with small cars who aren’t very generous and people with large cars who are extremely generous. Even so, how does poverty result from the behavior of those large car owning suburbanites? Do you see them as the owners of businesses paying the low wages or not having jobs to offer?

I suspect more than a few large car owning “suburbanites” are generously funding and supporting the many worthwhile causes in our community that help the needy. Where do you see this money and support coming from?

Tried the progressive thing,

Tried the progressive thing, decided it wasn't progressing towards anything but disaster. What is your definition of progress? Is there an endpoint for what can reasonably be accomplished? How much of my income would I have to surrender in taxes for your vision? 50%? 100%? At what point am I no longer in control of my own life? You express disdain for suburbanites whose greed somehow makes people homeless (a baseless assertion), but you do not suggest how the extraction of my wealth would result in anything but my own homelessness. I've seen the kinds of dwellings and apartments the majority of people in the USSR had to live in--our homeless people have it really good here in comparison!

Some definitions of progressive I have heard really are synonymous with "busybody control freak." I often see this in the extreme left and extreme right wings. Is it maybe due to some kind of severely repressed insecurity or xenophobia? Whatever the cause, you might reconsider your misplaced idoltary for figures such as Che Guevera, for example.

The issue over backyard pickups is somewhat silly until you consider that the fees (e.g. taxes) for trash pickup didn't get reduced, only the quality of the service. Local residents were only expressing their instincts as consumers to complain about the change since they can't exactly take their money to a competing company. It is also possible that the community is voicing its frustration over high property taxes in general and the discontinuation of curbside pickup was a vehicle for that.

"the continued attempts to

"the continued attempts to whitewash downtown so that suburbanites will feel more comfortable parking their large cars while ignoring the poverty that results from their greed"

Whoa, Ruby. I feel like statements like this need a little back up. Please explain.

I'm glad you asked the question though Ruby. Keep in mind, this is only a student's perspective on this, but it seems like there might be a difference in our definitions of liberal. It seems to me like everyone who lives in this town must be an environmentalist and must be somewhat liberal. I, for one, am foremost an environmentalist. I'm also liberal, but am I progressive? Certainly not the way the word is used in this town!

I think Chapel Hill gets its reputation from the days of Frank Porter Graham. He rained progressive values on the university, but much like stormwater, the town soaked most of it up. (just kidding! I thought it was clever though!)

I think the progressive population in this town is the most politically active. Keep in mind only 20% of the population votes in our local elections, and for the most part, that is the progressive population. There is another 80% out there though, and who knows how they define themselves.

If you don't vote though, you don't have a voice. Therefore, the only voice that town has (politically) is a progressive voice.