Photo taken at the NC Welcome center on Interstate 26 at the NC/Tn border. 

Please don’t give up on North Carolina.

You probably know someone who is a proud North Carolinian. And you’ve probably watched him/her look uncomfortable recently when politics have been discussed… 

The NY Times posted an opinion piece on July 10 that talks a bit about what is happening in NC. And then a few days later there was a response from the NC Governor.

The first NY Times article, The Decline of North Carolina, made me panic. What is happening in NC doesn’t reflect the citizens of this great state. I know that, but a lot of people don’t.

Here’s a comment someone left on The Decline of North Carolina article:

“I moved to Raleigh almost a year ago. At the time I didn’t know much about the states politics but I knew it was beautiful and growing, and the metro areas seemed pretty progressive. Now, I’m embarrassed to say I made the decision to move here. Our new governor has done absolutely nothing positive for the people of this state, and his Senate and House have continued that trend. If I hadn’t found a great job here, I would be seriously considering moving again. It makes me so sad that a state I was once excited and proud to become a member of has taken such a sharp decline in just a matter of months.”
-Ashleigh, Raleigh

Egads! This is exactly what people who LOVE NC are worrying about.

NC is a vibrant state, filled with many, many wonderful people. I’ve lived roughly 27 of my 37 years in NC. I’ve lived in awesome places like Germany, Costa Rica, Miami, Brooklyn, Tennessee and Kentucky, but my heart has always, always, always belonged to NC.

It’s where I grew up. Where I was educated. Where I had my first kiss. Where I spent, what felt like, endless weeks at the beach playing in the water. I’ve moved away several times but I’ve always come back.

The past few months have been very disappointing for the citizens of NC, but there is so much good that happens in NC. When I describe other places I have lived, I use the word like. When I describe NC I use love.

I love exploring Raleigh. As a kid I thought Raleigh was world-famous because of the bikes. Bikes are for exploring. I love that the famous Wagon Wheel song is about going to the land of the pines and staying in Raleigh.

I love the entrepreneurial spirit of Durham. The fierce love of all things local. The brains on the people you meet. You can have an amazing meal at one of the many fabulous restaurants. In places like Durham, Burlington and Saxapahaw they turn abandoned things into vibrant restaurants, coffee shops and places to live.

I love Charlotte. It will always be home. I can drive the streets with my eyes closed (though I don’t). Charlotte is the only place where I can still feel like a kid. In Charlotte you can drive a NASCAR, go white water rafting, see a professional basketball team (go Hornets!) and professional football.

I love summers at Pine Knoll Shores, NC. Playing in the water. Visiting the aquarium. Eating nearby at the Sanitary Fish Market & Restaurant in Morehead City.

I love the ACC rivalry that seems to stem from the Triangle of NC. Go Carolina! Go Duke! Go NC State!.

And the more I write about what I love about NC the more I realize I will never be able to capture it all… Greensboro, Asheville, Duck, Winston-Salem, Thomasville, Concord, Weddington, Monroe, Boone, Lake James, Chapel Hill, Carrboro… the list is never-ending.

Ashleigh completed her statement with something that gives me hope:

“I went to Moral Monday this week and was thrilled to see nearly 3,000 people demonstrating against the general assembly. It has motivated me to once again become an active organizer. I hope more people will get involved and try our best to combat the destruction our legislature is determined to commit”
-Ashleigh, Raleigh

The legislature won’t be in session much longer. If you can’t make it to one of the few Moral Mondays that remain, perhaps you can help by writing about NC and what makes it so special.

Let’s activate others to write about NC and help them understand what makes NC amazing.

Eileen Gates, Elizabeth Bender Read, Liz Hester, Alisa Ryan Herr, Ileana Rodriguez, Geoff Gann, Angela Salamanca and Anna Adlard have joined the conversation about what makes North Carolina great:

North Carolinian, Not by Birth but 100% by Choice by Eileen Gates

The Humble Vale Becomes A Mountain by Elizabeth Bender Read

Coming home by Liz Hester

Love letter to North Carolina by Alisa Ryan Herr

North Carolina, I wish I knew how to quit you by Ileana Rodriguez

I like calling North Carolina home… by Geoff Gann

Home at last by Angela Salamanca

Why my permanent address will always be North Carolina by Anna Adlard

I’ve collected many short stories and beautiful comments and published a round-up for you.

I encourage you to join the conversation. Contact me @gingin if you want me to link to your story.