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Old-fashioned grass-roots politics


With an election coming up, it’s almost a full-time job to handle my duties as chairman of the Democratic Party in my county. But the job has its rewards, including meeting the candidates during their campaign travels.

Even our oldest active Democrats can’t recall a candidate for the United States Senate ever visiting our little county. But, last Sunday, Deborah Ross, who is running for the United States Senate from North Carolina, was here. It was my honor to introduce Ross both at the little black church she attended on Sunday and for the rally and luncheon that followed at our campaign headquarters.

I found it remarkable that neither Deborah Ross nor any of her campaign team ever mentioned raising money. She spoke twice — first at the church, and then to the more than 100 people who stood in the rather hot sunshine for the rally. She never told a single lie and didn’t distort any issues. She was well aware of local issues that are particularly important to us, including coal ash and fracking. She mentioned that she had voted against fracking when she was in the North Carolina General Assembly. She was positive, polite, and gracious with everyone she met. After she left our rally, she had campaign stops in at least two nearby rural counties — Yadkin and Davie. She is running an old-fashioned campaign based on traveling and meeting people, rather than raising and spending money.

Ross was a civil rights lawyer. To the other party, justice is mostly about prosecution and prisons, which they like to call “law and order.” To us Democrats, justice is about something else entirely. If you asked me to name the most important thing that Democrats have in common, I would say that it’s a passion for justice. I’ve looked at a lot of definitions of justice, but I think I like Cornel West’s definition best: “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.”

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