D.G. Martin

Where Did All The New Voters Come From?

“Voters born elsewhere make up nearly half of N.C. electorate.” So begins the latest DataNet report from the UNC Program on Public Life, directed by former journalist Ferrel Guillory. So what? What difference does it make to us that almost half of North Carolina voters were born somewhere else? To begin to show the importance of such a large number of non-North Carolina natives participating in the state’s election process, DataNet gives us a short history lesson: “One hundred years ago, when North Carolina had a population of about 2.5 million people, more than nine out of 10 residents...

Read More

Books: Our World As It Was, Is, Or Could Be

Why do we read books? For entertainment, of course, first and foremost. But the best books also challenge us emotionally and intellectually to see the world in a different way, as it really is, or as it once was, as it could be, or, perhaps, as it will become. Here are some summer reading ideas of North Carolina books that could open your eyes to seeing our world differently and entertaining you at the same time. First of all, Crossroads of the Natural World: Exploring North Carolina with Tom Earnhardt shows our state’s plant and animal life as it...

Read More

Preserving The Monuments Of A Controversial Past

“You see him and ask: ‘Why is the statue still here? What was it he actually stood for?’ This is the kind of debate that a public work of art makes possible. We won’t change the way people think just by getting rid of a monument.” The mayor of one of Mecklenburg’s largest municipalities is defending the refusal to remove a statue of a hero of another era, but one who today offends many residents. This raises again the question of what to do about the statues, building names, and the nicknames and mascots of sports teams that offend...

Read More

A Great Generation And A Great Book Title

“It turned out to be a hell of a book title.” Tom Brokaw, former NBC News anchor and productive author, was talking, with his usual modesty, about The Greatest Generation. It is the title of his 1998 best-selling book and the identification of the Americans who, after serving in World War II, came home to lead our country through an era of progress and prosperity. Last week, 16 years after the book’s publication, Brokaw talked about it with author Roger Rosenblatt at Chautauqua Institution in New York State, where I was on vacation. In his book, Brokaw explained how...

Read More

“Saving Texas” And Forgetting About Scotland

How does Harry Potter feel about the hotly contested proposal to separate Scotland from the United Kingdom? Edinburgh-based author J.K. Rowling, who created Harry Potter, opposes the proposal. She donated one million pounds to an organization fighting the proposal, which comes to a vote this fall. She worries that Scottish universities would lose funding for important research if Scotland was independent. Other opponents of independence point out a variety of problems that Scotland would face. What kind of currency would it use? How would it manage its defense? Could it be a member of NATO and the European Union?...

Read More

What We Learned Last Week

What was the lesson we were taught twice last week? Once by Dave Brat, the congressional candidate who defeated House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor? And again by the insurgent forces of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria)? This simple (but too often forgotten) lesson applies in North Carolina and throughout the world. It is this: a committed minority can beat an unenthusiastic, unmotivated, unprepared majority. In the case of Cantor’s loss, we have heard countless reasons to explain the result: 1. Brat bested him on the immigration issue by casting Cantor as a weak, inconsistent, and unreliable opponent...

Read More

Republicans’ Best Choice For 2016?

Romney for President. Get used to the idea. Again. But, you say, Mitt Romney has made it clear that he is not interested in running again. He is a two-time loser, which makes him damaged property. And the far-right wing of the party was never happy with him as a candidate. And by the time he would first become president he would be 69 years old. However, the super-conservatives in the party learned to live with Romney in 2012. If they think he has the best chance to beat a Democrat, they will work for him again. And who...

Read More

Music, Murder And More For Your Summer Reading

Suddenly it’s June. Have you made a list of books to read on your summer vacation? Here are some North Carolina books for that list: UNC-Wilmington’s Clyde Edgerton’s Night Train came out three years ago and remains a favorite because it takes me back to my growing up years. Two friends, both teenaged boys, live in Starke, a fictional eastern North Carolina town, in the early 1960s. One, Larry Lime Nolan, is black, and he wants to play jazz like Thelonious Monk. The other, Dwayne Hallston, is white, and he wants to be another James Brown. They have much...

Read More

Would A Real Veto Power Help Governor McCrory?

There’s a secret nobody in the Raleigh power establishment will confirm. It is this: our Republican governor, Pat McCrory, would not mind if there were a few more Democrats in the General Assembly after this fall’s elections. When you ask people close to the governor about this possibility, they are not likely to give you a straightforward “yes” in response. But their flashing eyes and quick grins tell you that they think the governor would have more strength dealing with the legislature if there were fewer Republicans. As The Charlotte Observer’s Jim Morrill wrote earlier this month, “Gov. Pat...

Read More

May 20th – Did You Miss It Again This Year?

“It is probably not known to many of our readers that the citizens of Mecklenburg County in this state made a declaration of independence a year before Congress made theirs.” This item could be an introduction to a contemporary story about the anniversary of the May 20, 1775, Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Most North Carolinians today do not recognize the date, even though it is enshrined on our state flag and official seal. But the quoted report came from the April 30, 1819 Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette to introduce its publication of the Mecklenburg Declaration and a...

Read More