Dozens of Scientists Urge Feds to Promote, Not Curtail, Red Wolf Recovery

Experts say scaling back program puts North Carolina red wolves ‘on a swifter path toward extinction’ 

WASHINGTON— Thirty prominent scientists with expertise in ecology, genetics and other areas relevant to wolf conservation submitted a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Nov. 30 expressing concerns over the agency’s plans to dramatically curtail its recovery program for red wolves, the nation’s most imperiled wolf population.

Joseph Hinton, David Rabon, John Vucetich and other scientists urged the Service to identify additional red wolf reintroduction sites rather than remove wolves from the wild and drastically curtail the size of the recovery area in North Carolina, as the agency recently proposed.

red-wolf-by-seth-bynum

A red wolf, the nation’s most imperiled wolf. Photo Credit: Seth Bynum

“The Service has once again allowed politics instead of science to drive decisions on red wolf recovery – and the science is clear that scaling back this recovery program only puts these animals on a swifter path toward extinction,” said Jamie Pang, endangered species campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Service needs to listen to these experts and take the actions necessary to recover red wolves in the wild before it’s too late.”

In September the Service proposed to confine red wolf recovery to federal public lands, shrinking the animals’ recovery area from five counties in North Carolina to just one bombing range and one wildlife refuge in a single county. In the past couple of years, the agency has allowed the wild population of red wolves to drop to as few as 45, down from its peak of 130. Shootings and nonlethal removals threaten the wolves by disturbing pack dynamics and promoting hybridization with coyotes.

“Wild red wolves now face a perilously high risk of extinction. The Service’s recent actions seem consistent with abandoning red wolves rather than recovering them,” said Dr. John Vucetich, a professor and scientist at Michigan Technological University. “The Service has not adequately justified shifting resources away from the wild population. The most prudent action, by far, would be to protect the existing red wolf population in North Carolina and identifying new reintroduction sites elsewhere in the Southeast.”

“Red wolf recovery has been a testing ground for notable conservation strategies and innovation,” said Dr. Joseph Hinton, a postdoctoral researcher at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. “The science shows that the red wolf can be saved, and that the Service should re-implement those previous management practices to ensure the long-term viability of the wild population in eastern North Carolina.”

cbd.circle.rgb.jpgThe Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Creating Generation Whine

Trump won; get over it and keep fighting for justice

By Michael M. Barrick

Oh my. It appears some college students (and professors) were so distraught over the election of Donald Trump as president that some of the nation’s supposedly most prestigious Ivy League institutions cancelled classes and exams the day following the election. You can read about it here.

According to the report, a Yale administrator told faculty “to be sensitive to students at this moment …” Hurry, somebody please pass the smelling salts. I hear a collective moan of, “I believe I have the vapors!”

graduates

Penn, too, cancelled classes, exams and heard from distraught students. I hope somebody in a position of authority told them to “get over it.” However, I haven’t read anywhere where anyone of authority came remotely close to challenging them to react and live as adults. Instead, the coddling began.

If the election of Donald Trump is enough to put “leaders” of universities and their students into a spiral of despondency, our adversaries – such as North Korea – will rightfully determine we are a hopelessly weak society. Indeed, one student said, “Putting exams after elections is irresponsible. If the University wants students to be involved in politics they shouldn’t force them to study instead.”

Please tell me I’m not alone in shaking my head in disbelief at that point-of-view. You have to study in college? Jesus Christ, whose idea was that? You still have to be part of society and vote? Oh no! The masters of multitasking can’t study, research and take an hour or so to go vote? Bless their hearts.

Perhaps some in academia need a refresher course of the example set by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who returned to Nazi Germany from the safety of the U.S., only to die in a concentration camp.

Instead, they are creating a Generation Whine that just wants to grab their electronic devices, curl up on the bed, and use social media to whine to one another. Never mind that social and digital media gives them the power to change the world. First, they must be aware of the world beyond their concerns. This reaction to Trump’s election shows they are not. This song by Chicago might help with that.

Or, consider a brief story. While working for six years right out of high school, I met my wife, Sarah. Then, I went to college while she worked. It was in my junior year of college that she became pregnant with our first child. Lindsay happened to arrive on the same day that a major paper was due to my history professor. A weekend came between Lindsay’s arrival and my return to campus. In short, my paper was about four days late, and the grade reflected it. I was upset and told the professor I thought he was being unfair to penalize me. His response: “You have to choose priorities. You want to make a life for your daughter? Then attend class and turn in your work. That’s how you graduate.”

He accepted no excuses. To this day, I admire him for it. You see, I knew that paper was due. I had it done. Though I commuted 35 miles one-way over a West Virginia mountain road every day, it was the professor’s argument that I could have sent the paper with a friend when it was due (this was before email). He was right. He did not expect me to miss my baby’s birth, but he was trying to teach me that sometimes in life, we have multiple, simultaneous responsibilities.

In other words, life is hard and quite complicated much of the time.

As a grandfather, father and retired teacher, I know some folks think I should be extending a little sympathy to our young college friends. Well, I simply can’t. It’s not good for them, as it is time they grow up.

I, too, had to put up with the hate hurled by Trump supporters as I campaigned and worked the polls during early voting. We saw first-hand just what kind of jerks support Donald Trump. We have seen the administration he’s putting together. It is too bad we don’t teach history anymore, or these college students really would be terrified.

And that is Trump’s hope: that he can terrorize everyone just as he did through the election. He is also hoping college-aged kids will become so disillusioned that they’ll not fight the forces within the Democratic Party that put their thumbs on the scale in their successful – but ultimately disastrous – attempt to hand the Democratic nomination to Hillary. He is counting on them to not look to third parties and improved ballot access.

I’m feeling old (no, 60 is not the “new 40”). I’m tired. I’m not well physically. But hell will freeze over before I give in to the forces of evil such as Donald Trump. That’s the lesson college kids need to learn. So, shame on those administrators, professors and students that felt the need to hit the pause button the day after the election. It was exactly opposite of what should have happened.

So, here’s my two cents worth to the students and others distraught about the election of Donald Trump. As the Eagles sang, “Get Over It.” And, then do something about it, like fight for justice, for what it’s worth.

© Michael M. Barrick, 2016

We are on Facebook

On Twitter: @appchronicle

GOP Does Not Have Exclusive Claim to Christianity, Argues NC Candidate

With Trump at the Top of its Ticket, the GOP Needs to Clam Up about Christianity, says Art Sherwood  

crossLENOIR, N.C. Art Sherwood, the Democratic candidate for N.C. Senate District 45, today said that attempts by Republican poll workers to paint the GOP as the ‘Christian party’ and accusing Democrats of wanting to impose Islamic Sharia law are an affront to American and Christian values.

Sherwood said, “After just two days of early voting in North Carolina, I have witnessed some outrageous claims by the Republican Party that simply can’t go unchallenged. The first is that the GOP sample ballot has the “Christian candidates’ as Republican poll workers have been asserting.  I know the GOP does not hold exclusive ownership of Christianity, because it is my Christian faith that led to me to seek office – proudly as a Democrat – in the first place. Secondly, I and others have witnessed GOP poll workers – right here in Lenoir – tell voters that Democrats support imposing Sharia law in North Carolina. That is an outright lie.”

He continued, “Since when did lying become acceptable in the Bible? I guess when winning elections at any cost trumps one’s so-called Christian values.” He added, “In fact, with the vulgar Donald Trump at the top of the GOP ticket, claims by Republican poll workers that the GOP represents Christian values is laughable.”

He concluded, “It’s also dangerous. Enough is enough.”

He explained, “As I stated the other day, though there is much I hope to accomplish as a state senator, I want to start by addressing the damage caused by the misappropriation of Christian beliefs by conservatives for political gain. Well, I’m more motivated than ever to point out that the GOP is not only deceptive about Christian values, it is causing great harm to Christianity by claiming exclusive ownership of it. That offends me on behalf of the Christian faith. That is why I have begun releasing a series of videos on Real North Carolina values. The first video, ‘Restoring Real North Carolina Values: Civility’ is on our home page.”

Art Sherwood primary

Art Sherwood

Sherwood continued, “In addition, I am compelled to do something that reveals just how strongly I feel about this. I am going to offer a brief history of how I came to be a Christian and how my faith guides my life. Additionally, I hope you’ll also take time to read my position paper, ‘Faith in Politics and Government.’ There, I lay out in great detail how my Christian faith will guide my decision-making. But I assure you I will never show preference to any religious faith as I weigh political decisions.

“Also, before sharing my faith journey, I must pause to remind all believers, ‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged’ (Matthew 7:1). I am not going to judge the faith of Republicans. But I will not let them define me as a non-Christian, because in doing so, they are also attacking the Christian faith.”

Sherwood shared, “So here goes. My grandfather was a Baptist minister. Every moment the church doors were open, my parents had me in church. One can’t live in that environment and not make a decision for himself about the faith. So, at the age of 11 I made a profession of faith in my home church. Later, as a young college student, I made a commitment to a life of full time Christian service. However, full time ‘Christian service’ doesn’t mean one has to work in a ministry; it simply means one lives out their Christian faith in their vocation – as I did in serving veterans and others with spinal cord injuries.”

He continued, “I would add that in college, the Baptist Student Union was incredibly valuable to my faith development. I also served ten years as a trustee at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and have been deeply involved in leadership positions of every church I’ve been associated with, wherever our vocations have taken us.”

Sherwood concluded, “So, if people don’t want to vote for me because they don’t agree with me on the issues, that’s fine. But I will not stand by and let others say people should not vote for me because I am not a Christian. It’s a lie straight out of the pit of hell.”

Senate District 45 includes five counties – Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell and Watauga. Sherwood is a resident of Caldwell County. Early voting begins Oct. 20 and runs through Nov. 5. Election Day is Nov. 8.

 

Contact the Campaign

To speak with Art Sherwood, please call (828) 434-0563. To speak with Campaign Manager Michael Barrick, please call (828) 434-8520.

Position Papers

Restoring Real North Carolina Values: Civility

Ask Any Teacher if Raleigh Republicans Value Education

Voting Rights Reforms are Long Overdue

Faith in Politics and Government

The Environment: Fracking and Related Pipeline Development 

News Releases

As Early Voting Begins, Art Sherwood Focuses on ‘Real North Carolina Values’

NCAE Endorses Art Sherwood for State Senate

Equality NC Action Fund Endorses Art Sherwood

Sherwood Praises Workers, Slams GOP for Assault on Working Class

Sherwood Endorses NAACP Plan for Early Voting in Watauga County

Young Democrats of Caldwell County Plan ‘Music for Art’ Concert

Sherwood Expresses Dismay at Ballard’s Failure to Repudiate Trump

Sherwood Issues Position Paper on Voting Rights

Sherwood Calls on Opponent to Repudiate Trump’s Attacks on Fallen Soldier’s Parents

Sherwood Applauds Appeals Court Ruling on NC Voter ID Law

Art Sherwood Praises Hillary Clinton’s Call for all Americans to ‘Rise Together’

Art Sherwood Says Raleigh Republicans to Blame for Geologist’s Resignation

Art Sherwood Issues Position Paper on Faith in Politics and Government

Art Sherwood Refutes Claims by McCrory of ‘Carolina Comeback’

Sherwood Slams Effort by Watauga Republicans to Suppress ASU Student Voting

Art Sherwood Calls for Positive Campaign, Opponent Agrees

Art Sherwood Calls for Moratorium on Fracking in North Carolina

Learn more

Website

Facebook

Twitter: @ArtSherwood

As Early Voting Begins, Art Sherwood Focuses on ‘Real North Carolina Values’

After nearly a year of campaigning, state senate candidate says restoring ‘Real North Carolina Values’ must be first priority of new legislature 

Art Sherwood primary

Art Sherwood

LENOIR, N.C. – As one-stop or “early” voting begins in North Carolina, Art Sherwood, the Democratic candidate for N.C. Senate District 45, today said that for the balance of the campaign he will focus on championing “Real North Carolina Values.”

(See the video, “Restoring Real North Carolina Values: Civility” ).

Sherwood said, “After nearly a year of campaigning, it has become clear to me that the most important task that will be facing the next North Carolina General Assembly is to restore real North Carolina values as our state’s guiding principles.” He continued, “While we have a multitude of issues that our lawmakers must deal with – as you will see here and here – we must first be about the business of restoring real North Carolina values.”

He added, “Indeed, you can watch a brief video here about the first value I believe we need to restore – civility. You can also read my position paper: ‘Restoring Real North Carolina Values: Civility.’”

Sherwood offered, “When I decided to run for the North Carolina State Senate nearly a year ago, there were many compelling reasons to do so. However, little did I know then that my principle motivation would end up being the most important issue facing our nation as we approach Election Day.” He explained, “Though there is much I hope to accomplish as a state senator, I want to start by addressing the damage caused by the misappropriation of Christian beliefs by conservatives for political gain. Under the guise of ‘North Carolina values,’ many cruel policies have been adopted.”

He continued, “The damage caused by this to our political and faith institutions is real and dangerous. People – especially younger people – are quickly losing faith in these institutions that are foundational to our republic. A loss of faith in our institutions by our youngest – and largest – generation is a crisis we cannot endure.”

Sherwood argued, “The truth is, we’ve abandoned our values. The first among them is civility. If we’re not nice to one another, we’re just not going to get anything done. And in time, being unkind can lead to unadulterated hate. Such an outlook towards one another – or those we are called to serve – is counter to what is taught in Sunday schools across this state every week – ‘Love your neighbor.’”

Sherwood concluded, “Sadly our state’s people continue to see our once great values eroded because our leading elected officials refuse to embrace and model civility. We have, we can, and we must do better. That is why, upon taking office, my first order of business will be to personally seek out each senator and seek first to understand before seeking to be understood.”

voteSenate District 45 includes five counties – Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell and Watauga. Sherwood is a resident of Caldwell County. Early voting begins Oct. 20 and runs through Nov. 5. Election Day is Nov. 8. 

Contact the Campaign

To speak with Art Sherwood, please call (828) 434-0563. To speak with Campaign Manager Michael Barrick, please call (828) 434-8520.

Position Papers

Restoring Real North Carolina Values: Civility

Ask Any Teacher if Raleigh Republicans Value Education

Voting Rights Reforms are Long Overdue

Faith in Politics and Government

The Environment: Fracking and Related Pipeline Development 

News Releases

NCAE Endorses Art Sherwood for State Senate

Equality NC Action Fund Endorses Art Sherwood

Sherwood Praises Workers, Slams GOP for Assault on Working Class

Sherwood Endorses NAACP Plan for Early Voting in Watauga County

Young Democrats of Caldwell County Plan ‘Music for Art’ Concert

Sherwood Expresses Dismay at Ballard’s Failure to Repudiate Trump

Sherwood Issues Position Paper on Voting Rights

Sherwood Calls on Opponent to Repudiate Trump’s Attacks on Fallen Soldier’s Parents

Sherwood Applauds Appeals Court Ruling on NC Voter ID Law

Art Sherwood Praises Hillary Clinton’s Call for all Americans to ‘Rise Together’

Art Sherwood Says Raleigh Republicans to Blame for Geologist’s Resignation

Art Sherwood Issues Position Paper on Faith in Politics and Government

Art Sherwood Refutes Claims by McCrory of ‘Carolina Comeback’

Sherwood Slams Effort by Watauga Republicans to Suppress ASU Student Voting

Art Sherwood Calls for Positive Campaign, Opponent Agrees

Art Sherwood Calls for Moratorium on Fracking in North Carolina

Learn more

Website

Facebook

Twitter: @ArtSherwood

These are the Stakes with Donald Trump

In Monday night’s debate, Donald Trump said that his temperament is his “greatest asset.” Take a moment to see evidence of his temperament.

nuclear-explosion

Credit: Wikipedia.org

Then admit, if Donald Trump is elected President of the United States, “These are the Stakes.”

Then, decide now to vote. Whether you “like” Hillary or not, I’m fairly confident you’d like not to be on the endangered species list. Well, that will be the status of every human on earth with a President Trump.

Or, you could just sit this one out, put out your picnic blanket and bucket of beer and go out watching the big bright light.

© The Appalachian Chronicle, 2016 (not sure about 2017 just yet).

FERC Independence Challenged by Nonprofits

Hundreds of Nonprofit Organizations Join to Demand Reform of ‘Rogue Agency’

WASHINGTON – More than 180 organizations representing communities across America, including West Virginia, called on leaders in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee to hold congressional hearings into the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) extensive history of bias and abuse. The groups are also requesting reform of the Natural Gas Act, which the groups say, gives too much power to FERC and too little to state and local officials.

“The time has now come for Congress to investigate how FERC is using its authority and to recognize that major changes are in fact necessary in order to protect people, including future generations, from the ramifications of FERC’s misuse of its power and implementation of the Natural Gas Act,” says Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and a primary organizer of the effort.

“The Greenbrier River Watershed has two pipelines proposed: Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley, yet FERC refused to do a Programmatic EIS to look at the need for two pipelines,” says Leslee McCarty, coordinator of the Greenbrier River Watershed Association.  “We hope Congress, instead of speeding up approvals for these projects, will force FERC to look closely at need, especially in light of global climate change.”

“The FERC represents the epitome of what the world has come to recognize as a rogue regime: unbridled power over citizens and unquestionable allegiance to and cooperation with unethical, socially unjust and environmentally dismissive corporations,” says Monroe County, WV resident Laurie Ardison,  co-chair of POWHR (Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights).” For the citizens of this country to be victims of the FERC is unconscionable. Congress must reign in this agency which left unchecked, will continue to foster incalculable harms as the fossil fuel industry develops beyond need.”

McCarty adds, “Fracked gas may prove to be even more of a dirty fuel than coal. Yet in the US, and especially in West Virginia, we are asked to embrace this dirty business as our savior. It is a testimony to slick public relations and strategic campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies, and keeps us on a dangerous path to certain disastrous climate change and boom and bust economic development. This is the time for West Virginia to look to revitalize our energy portfolio and keep sustainable jobs, not continue to be led down the painful road we have traveled in the past.”

The letter to Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairwoman Lisa Murkoski (R-AK), Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA), signed by 182 community organizations representing communities in 35 states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia as well as the District of Columbia, argues that FERC’s review and approval process for jurisdictional pipeline projects is infected by bias; and that it is resulting in uncontrolled and irresponsible proliferation of unneeded natural gas pipelines. Finally, the letter charges the agency with misusing provisions in the law to strip people and states of their legal rights, to prevent fair public participation in the pipeline review process, and to improperly use the power of eminent domain to take private property and public lands in a way that inflicts unforgivable harm to rights, jobs, and communities.

The letter details how FERC has implemented the Natural Gas Act in ways that deliberately undermine public input. FERC has prevented communities from challenging projects before the exercise of eminent domain and pipeline construction, made decisions to benefit its Commissioners, and used conflicted consultants to handle much of the review process.

In addition to calling for hearings into FERC and the Natural Gas Act, the letter opposes any further advancement of language in the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 meant to shorten critical pipeline review periods. Signers of the letter argue that the proposed law should be held in abeyance until after the hearings, where Congress will learn “how people’s rights, state’s rights, and the environment are already being abused under the implementation of the Natural Gas Act and so will be further harmed by passage of provisions proposed in the new law.”

Upon Congressional review, DRN and fellow parties demand the reforms necessary to address FERC’s extensive abuse of power, which requires revising the Natural Gas Act to prevent the misuse and exploitation that has been rampant. Additionally, the organizations seek affirmative action to remedy FERC’s problematic funding structure.

“FERC is corrupt and needs to be reformed,” says Paul L Gierosky, cofounder, Coalition to Reroute Nexus. “The evidence is overwhelming and clear as is set forth in the request for Congressional Hearings. It is time for Congress to hold FERC accountable.”

“The number of frack gas pipelines is exploding and the feds are not only not applying appropriate oversight, but are in fact also enabling the trampling of people’s property rights, public health standards, and environmental protection,” says David Pringle, NJ Campaign Director, Clean Water Action. “This letter is a clarion call to action for Congress to rein in this modern day Wild West that if left unchecked will lead to even worse abuses and explosions.”

 

A pdf of the letter is available here:
http://ohvec.org/ferc-hrg-sign-on-letter/

N.C. State Senate Candidate Calls for Renewed Commitment on Working Class Issues

Art Sherwood slams GOP assault on workers’ rights, calls upon Democrats to not forget longtime alliance with working class

LENOIR, N.C. Art Sherwood, the Democratic candidate for North Carolina Senate District 45, today called for a renewed commitment to the working class by the Democratic Party and their traditional labor allies. He also praised the working class and pledged to fight the GOP assault upon working class rights.

Art Sherwood primary

Art Sherwood

“Should the people of our five-county district entrust me with the privilege of serving them in the North Carolina State Senate, they can rest assured that I will do all that I can to fight for the working class which is the backbone of our region, state and nation. I will vigorously oppose the ongoing efforts by Governor Pat McCrory and the Republican-controlled General Assembly to rob workers of their rights and fair wages.”

Senate District 45 includes five Appalachian counties – Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell and Watauga. Sherwood is a resident of Caldwell County. The General Election will be held on November 8.

Sherwood continued, “The Republicans have denied teachers and other public employees due process and, through the passage of House Bill 2, made North Carolina one of the most hostile states in the nation towards labor. Their scheme to prevent local municipalities from raising the minimum wage has not gone unnoticed.”

He argued, “Not only is this not in keeping with the rich tradition that labor has played in making the Tar Heel State great, it also does great harm to families. That is why, this Labor Day, I am emphasizing the honored role of labor and promising that I will strive to ensure that the Democratic Party in North Carolina makes championing labor rights a top priority.”

He noted, “North Carolina is a so-called ‘Right-to-Work’ state. Well, let’s look at what happens to families in those states. Household incomes are $535 less per month than in states that protect labor; workers and their children are more likely not to have health insurance; more working people and their children live in poverty; states spend less per student on education; workplace deaths are 36 percent higher; and, wages are lower.”

Sherwood observed, “As I travel the district’s counties, the valuable role that labor has played in making our communities what they are is everywhere. However, it is also true that, sadly, the effects of reliance upon a mono-economy can be seen also in shuttered factories and closed stores. We must not forget the first and never again allow the second.”

He continued, “Let us not forget that Caldwell County was built by blue-collar workers that built the railroads that hauled the timber that became furniture at the hands of factory workers. Let us not forget the hard work of farming, which remains a crucial part of the High County’s economy. Let us not forget the caring teachers, assistants, support personnel and administrators who pour their lives into our children despite their long days and low wages. We must remember the role of those enriching our lives through the arts, crafts and music. We must remember those folks having to hold down two jobs – often without any benefits – just to feed their children.”

Concluding, Sherwood asserted, “We must remember that it is the working class that built our homes, our communities. That is why I will fight for collective bargaining; will oppose “business incentives” that excludes local workers; will support grants for the arts and crafts; will work with those seeking to diversify and expand our economic opportunities; and support alternative energy industries that will provide good-paying and rewarding jobs while weaning us from our dependence upon fossil fuels.”

See also:

Art Sherwood Calls for Moratorium on Fracking in North Carolina

Learn more

Website

Facebook

Twitter: @ArtSherwood

To My ‘Bernie or Bust’ Friends: Revolutions Take Time, Even in the Digital Age

Bernie ignited the spirit of revolution, but it is left to others to strengthen and sustain it

By Michael M. Barrick

When Senator Bernie Sanders spoke at the Democratic National Convention on Monday night, the cameras repeatedly captured images of Bernie supporters in tears. I was sad also, as I have been a solid Bernie supporter since shortly after he announced. I was sad to see what I felt was the best candidate have to concede; I was sad for the young people who had invested so much in his campaign. Mostly I was sad because I knew the revolution he had ignited had been slowed down.

Bernie SandersBut it is not dead. I had to keep reminding myself of that throughout Bernie’s speech. Unlike the “Bernie or Bust” crowd though, I began to realize that the Democratic Party was still making history and the Republican Party wants to turn back history.

Speaking of history, it is its lessons that also give me hope that the revolution is not dead. One example should encourage all of those who supported Senator Sanders – the Civil Rights movement. It began with the earliest abolitionists of the 18th century and led to the Civil War. It provided us with the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Civil Rights movement fought against the KKK, Jim Crow and separate facilities. Its leaders were murdered. Presidents had to call out the National Guard to allow those in the movement to exercise their basic human rights and civil liberties. Still, the movement stayed alive and successfully fought for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 2008, the Civil Rights movement saw the culmination of its centuries of work in the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

Yet today, the Black Lives Matter movement remains controversial. This is proof that revolutions, even when they have clear moments of victory, are never over. That is because they are about ideas, not people. Yes, the people implement and embrace the ideas, but it is the power of the ideas that ensures that any revolution or movement will succeed. Great leaders die. Great ideas don’t.

That is an encouraging truth, but also a sobering truth. It requires of the revolution’s participants unwavering commitment and intellectual honesty. In short, for the revolution to be sustained, it must be defined. That is why Senator Sanders ignited the spark. It was already smoldering. The Occupy Wall Street movement was just one ember in the movement. The growth of social and environmental justice groups across the nation and globe are evidence of grassroots movements everywhere to protect the most vulnerable among us and the environment which sustains life.

So, the movement is not dead. But we must not lose focus of what started it – income inequality, crony capitalism, and a corrupt political process.

These problems – too long ignored – have led to compromised and failed governmental and societal institutions. With so many in poverty, with so many struggling with college debt, with others unable to afford college at all, with people working multiple jobs, with multiple generations living under one roof, with black people being targeted by police, with police being targeted by domestic terrorists, with health care being hijacked by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, with our reliance upon fossil fuels, with climate change, with crumbling inner cities and infrastructure, with voting rights under attack – with this many problems and more being ignored – we can say for sure that the revolution is not dead.

Has it suffered a setback? It would seem so. But if we wake up to President-elect Trump on Nov. 9, the revolution will be in the crosshairs of the executive branch, and the weapons of war in the hands of a megalomaniac.

So, before you turn your back and “walk out,”  stop and think. And remember this – there is not an “app” that you can download to any of your digital devices to make this revolution happen any faster. You must intentionally engage others in your community. Listen. Learn. Strive to understand before being understood. Be nice. Treat others as you want to be treated.  Run for office. Read. Think for yourself. Don’t buy into conspiracy theories; that is intellectual laziness. Besides, the “bad guys” aren’t as organized as conspiracy theorists suggest. They just lack scruples.

As an aside, I will note that perhaps the greatest thing about participating in a revolution is the friends you make along the way. I share two photographs below from my own journey. The first, from 2002 at the old state capitol in Raleigh, was taken as we were working to have the North Carolina General Assembly pass a judicial campaign reform law. It did. Among those in the picture are some folks who remain good friends. Others, such as U.S. Senator Robert Morgan, in the front row on the left, have passed along. Indeed, Senator Morgan died earlier this month. But his legacy as an independent thinker and my memories of him live on. In fact, they inspire me to keep fighting until, I too, draw my last breath. The other photo was taken 12 years later in Weston, W.Va. In that photo are several people who became friends because of our common call – ending fracking and related pipeline development in the Mountain State. I was privileged to work with these folks and others to form the Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance.

NC gang

Some of the team, including the late U.S. Senator Robert Morgan (front row left) that worked to pass judicial campaign reform in North Carolina in 2002. Photo courtesy of Bob Phillips.

Wv gang

Some of the founding members of the Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance, meeting in Weston, W.Va. in 2014. Photo courtesy of John Cobb.

While I am back in North Carolina again, I have not given up the fight in West Virginia. My friends deserve better, so we stay in touch and look for ways to help and support one another, even though separated by distance. Presently, I am heading up the campaign for Art Sherwood, a progressive candidate for the North Carolina State Senate. He is determined to move North Carolina forward again after six years of incredibly mean-spirited and regressive GOP leadership. I have already made many good friends in just the two months I’ve been with the campaign.

These people are just a few of the thousands I’ve been privileged to meet over 44 years or so of hell-raising (I participated in my first political campaigns in 1972). I can’t begin to put a value on the relationships. We encourage one another. We sustain one another. So, please don’t abandon the revolution. You’ll not only be cheating society, you’ll be cheating  yourself.

There is no question that we need a revolution. The American Dream has fragmented us into tribes. (Ironic, huh?). Our original national motto was “E Pluribus Unum,” which is Latin for, “Out of the many, one.”

The truth is, we are too diverse of a nation to ever be truly one ethnically or racially. We are too set in our ways on religion to ever be of one mind on that, nor should we be. We will always debate the proper role of government. But, if we are to survive as a nation – if we are to thrive as a community of people – then the revolution must continue. But it must do so calmly, patiently, and peacefully.

And, it can only be done in the context of community. Or, it will fail.

© Appalachian Chronicle, 2016

We are on Facebook

On Twitter: @appchronicle

NC State Senate Candidate Blames GOP for Geologist’s Resignation

Art Sherwood asserts that an anti-science bias and political correctness has caused GOP to undermine research by those protecting public health and the environment

LENOIR, N.C.  – Art Sherwood, the Democratic candidate for North Carolina Senate District 45, said today that the resignation of a founding geologist from the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission reveals the consequences of the anti-science, climate-change denying Republican Governor Pat McCrory and the GOP-led legislature.

Art Sherwood primary

Art Sherwood

Indeed, according to a news report in the Raleigh News & Observer and several other outlets, Stanley Riggs of East Carolina University said in his resignation letter, “I believe the once highly respected and effective science panel has been subtly defrocked and is now an ineffective body.” Riggs, who has worked on coastal issues for North Carolina more than 50 years, also said, “I can’t influence the legislature, but I can educate the public. That’s what I do.”

Sherwood said, “Mr. Riggs’s resignation is the result of a stunning rejection of science by Governor Pat McCrory and the GOP-led legislature. That is ironic in light of McCrory’s insistence that the NBA’s decision to cancel their All-Star game scheduled in Charlotte in 2017 was motivated by ‘political correctness.’ It is simply hypocritical for Republicans to talk about political correctness when Mr. Riggs felt he had no choice but to resign because the GOP is more concerned about appealing to its base than it is in finding solutions to our state and nation’s problems, such as climate change, which Mr. Riggs has been studying.”

Sherwood added, “Our citizens rightfully expect that our elected officials will identify and tackle the tough problems. It is obvious the Republicans in Raleigh have no intention of acknowledging our problems, let alone solving them. That is why I say, everywhere I go, ‘I am ready, willing and able to serve – now.’”

He concluded, “I have identified preserving the environment for future generations as a cornerstone of my campaign. That is why I have called for a moratorium on fracking based on the Precautionary Principle. I call now on the Republicans in Raleigh to quit obstructing the work of the scientists doing the important work of protecting public health and the environment that supports our very lives.”

Senate District 45 includes five counties – Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell and Watauga. Sherwood is a resident of Caldwell County. The General Election will be held on November 8.

 

We are on Facebook

On Twitter: @appchronicle

Contact the Campaign

To speak with Art Sherwood, please call (828) 434-0563. To speak with Campaign Manager Michael Barrick, please call (828) 434-8520.

Additional Information

Position Papers

Faith in Politics and Government

The Environment: Fracking and Related Pipeline Development

 News Releases

Art Sherwood Issues Position Paper on Faith in Politics and Government

Art Sherwood Refutes Claims by McCrory of ‘Carolina Comeback’

Sherwood Slams Effort by Watauga Republicans to Suppress ASU Student Voting

Art Sherwood Calls for Positive Campaign, Opponent Agrees

Art Sherwood Calls for Moratorium on Fracking in North Carolina

Learn more

Website

Facebook

Twitter: @ArtSherwood

Note: Michael Barrick is also the owner of the Appalachian Chronicle.