Perhaps because of the large number of outspoken and thoughtful people in our community, we have often found ourselves at ground zero in battles over civil liberties. In the 1980's Chapel Hill elected the first openly-gay elected official in the state, but Carrboro bested that by electing North Carolina’s first out mayor a decade later.
More recently, Chapel Hill grappled with free speech issues in the wake of 9/11, approved and then dismantled red light cameras in 2003-4, and was challenged by fundamentalists over support for gay marriage in 2005.
Early voting for the Orange County Sheriff’s Run-off between David Caldwell and Charles Blackwood kicks off this Thursday. Below are excerpted answers from Blackwood and Caldwell from the OrangePolitics’ Sheriff’s Forum
The GOP is in full blown meltdown right now. Four responses to the State of the Union? Yah ... these guys would like to relitigate the membership list in the union. The fact is, they're after birth control and would really like to revoke the right to vote for people who are brown or have breasts. I mean they are WORKING ON THIS.
Last year at this time, I wrote this missive which the local papers could not run as an OpEd due to its length. I share it here in the hopes that Ruby's masterful spider will help it find an audience.
It appears that as far as I can see on the political scene that there is a civil war here in orange county between liberal democrats and conservative republicans. Where are the moderates of both parties. Which of the current candidates of either party declare that he or she is a moderate liberal democrat or moderate conservative republican . Perhaps I might declare I"M a moderate liberal republican. Gary Kahn
The Orange County Republican Party defines it self as its 2 favorite presidents are Abe Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. At a recent party meeting this issue came up, and I said openly to this group my favorite Republican Presidents were Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt. There response was it makes sense a Republican from Chapel Hill would think that. I said my third favorite was President Eisenhower. Gary Kahn
With the election of Mayor Lavelle and the re-election of Mayor Kleinschmidt, every news report I hear or read about them includes the terms "openly gay" or "openly lesbian." Having not gone through the experience of keeping key elements of myself private and then navigating the landscape of revealing these to family members, friends, coworkers and the like, I don't have the grounding necessary to comment. Nevertheless, the use of the word "openly" gives me some unease. It seems to suggest that the public still harkens back to some sort of unspoken compact with gay and lesbian polticians that the cost of being elected was silence.
As we in Chapel Hill and Carrboro strive to continue to lead in the progress toward a fairer and more tolerant society, maybe we can move from "openly gay mayor" and "openly lesbian mayor" to just "gay mayor" and "lesbian mayor". Then, who knows, maybe just "mayor."
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