Dear Governor McCrory:
I see in The Charlotte Observer that you have been up to Asheville to the Charlotte Chamber’s annual retreat, and that you told them the city has a lot more retreating to do before we stop getting punished by your men in Raleigh:
"McCrory defended HB2...He said Charlotte leaders need to understand that large parts of the state think differently from them.
“'There is a totally different opinion on this issue in Shelby, North Carolina; Lincolnton, North Carolina; Wadesboro,' said McCrory."I know you despise The Observer and all its works. I saw the tweet, on your campaign website, of its old headquarters being torn down.
I read about how you claimed you’d already taken three “Observer questions” from the audience at the Hood Hargett Business Lunch meeting in September, when in fact, all the questions were plants by your staff.
But I have the feeling The Observer quoted you right this time.
And I know you are right on the merits. The 45 miles from Charlotte to Shelby makes decades of difference. My family moved there fifty years ago.
I still remember the vulgar phone calls I got in high school from boys who'd decided who I must be before I had (that was 45 years ago, and they only thought their calls were anonymous).
I still remember the out-of-earshot comments of high school classmates about the gay couple at our twenty-year reunion (that was 22 years ago, and they are still together; I wasn't out then, which is why people spoke freely to me).
I still remember the childhood friend- from one of the most respected, established families in Shelby- asking to have dinner with my ex-partner and me when she visited Seattle. It was a delightful evening, which she ended by asking us to promise we'd do our best to make sure her mother never found out she'd dined with us.
I hope the inheritance was worth the low appraisal she put on my friendship- and our worth as fellow humans. I imagine it's on a par with yours. You don't strike me as one who'd want others to know you dined with qay couples, either.
I remember how the vilest, most personally wounding comments about my coming out came from a Shelby classmate whose gifts as an artist and writer had held me awestruck for a quarter century before his email in 2003.
I read it, that email, and I slept on it, and- at 47- changed my voting registration to Democrat the next day.
I recognize that means you don’t want my vote now, and assume that, from your defense of the voter ID and gerrymandering laws (mine is one of the General Assembly districts tossed out for impermissibly race-based redistricting), and the actions of your state and county elections boards, you’re all in for making it harder for me to cast my ballot against you than those who support you in Lincolnton, Wadesboro, Shelby, and all other little towns where people think as you do and are keen to vote for you.
I have as much time as I need to tap your screen.
I’ve followed with interest the rise of Tim Moore, who represents Shelby in the General Assembly, to the Speaker’s chair, and have read of how he cut his political teeth campaigning against an LGBT student group as a UNC freshman. I was impressed by the speed with which you signed his and Senator Berger’s antigay handiwork, HB2.
And I know you are right about what people in Shelby think, because this is what one wrote me on Facebook in August (the caps and spelling are hers):
I AM VOTING FOR PAT MCCRORY AND I STAND WITH HIS BELIEVES!! DONT NEED NORMAN BATES IN WOMENS BATHROOMS AND ETC!!! ANYONE WHICH THINKS THIS IS CORRECT IS A FOOL!!! I DESERVE MY PRIVACY AND AS A NATURAL BORN WOMAN>I DEMAND IT!!!
I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST LGBT, INFACT I HAVE MANY FRIENDS WHICH ARE GAY. I DONOT WANT MY PRIVACY INVADED, I HAVE PRIVACY IN MY HOME AND I EXPECT TO HAVE PRIVACY WHEN I AM OUT IN PUBLIC. IT WOULD BE MORE BENEFICIAL TO HAVE SEPERATE BATHROOMS, RATHER THAN USING WOMENS BATHROOMS AND ETC. REMEMBER CHILDREN USE BATHROOMS AND ETC ALSO. THIS IS NOTHING MORE THAN COMMON SENSE. PERHAPS THEY CAN USE CAMERAS IN THE BATHROOMS AND ETC NOW. ALSO, YOU HAVE TO KNOW THERE ARE RAPIST AND ETC, WHICH WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS HB2 GIVING THEM A GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD. ANY MAN OR BOY WHICH HAS ANY RESPECT FOR WOMEN OR GIRLS WOULD BE AGAINST THIS HB2.
Are such people exemplars of your vision of the future of North Carolina, Governor?
Is getting and keeping their support why you tell bathroom jokes during your warmup act at Donald Trump rallies in North Carolina?
Are such people the face of the North Carolina workforce your economic development team presents to lure world-class technology companies to the state?
I can only assume, from your comments, over and over this year, that they are, like the virtually all-white patrons of the “African-American buffet restaurant in Hamlet” you bragged came up to hug you for signing HB2 to protect them from people like me- a guy whose family has lived in Richmond County since before the Revolution, and whose parents were married in Hamlet (they all agree with you, by the way).
I’m a bookseller now, Governor McCrory. A popular title is one by Charles Kuralt he called “North Carolina is My Home.” But I don’t share the version of that title you are promoting as the 21st century Tar Heel State.
In your version, the great poet Robert Frost is wrong. Home is where, when you have to go there, they don’t have to let you in. And you're telling North Carolinians that's OK. It's a matter of public safety. Common sense, like the comments of the all-caps woman.
In my generation, Governor, one of Shelby's biggest exports was its LGBT kids.
That's your Shelby, Governor. The City of Pleasant Living, its pleasantness best enjoyed by your people.
You can have it- and the lot of ‘em.
And if you want the name of the all-caps woman, I can send it to you. She seems like someone who’d write you a big check.
Shelby Senior High School Class of 1974