Cal Cunningham - draft
The last 20 years North Carolina and the South have had the churning experience of letting go of the old and finding itself again underneath; returning again to the place where it started, the Democratic Party. We saw the Democrats rise in a new spirit with urbane Harvard-educated lawyer and entrepreneur Mark Warner as governor of Virginia, teaming up then with rustic Scotch-Irish warrior Jim Webb from the deep hills of western Virginia. This was a new and auspicious Democratic paradigm when it arose; and advanced management and excellence model with Southern characteristics. It was Mudcat Saunder’s South; the old South, the new South, the same South coming into the republic and bringing with it heart and substance. It awakened in North Carolina when Kay Hagen clicked the ___ and sent Elizabeth Dole back to Kansas in 2008. It advances again with Cal Cunningham’s run against Richard Burr for the Senate. Cunningham, a captain in the army reserves and an Iraq war veteran who won a Bronze Star for his efforts, brings authentic leadership to North Carolina. He has recently been endorced by General Wesley Clark.
"Cal would be the first veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to serve in the U.S. Senate. He would bring a veteran's unique perspective to policymaking in Washington,” said Clark.
It has been a long journey. When we were rearing our kids on our little farm in Tobaccoville, NC, the venerable Jesse Helms was our Senator. He came from the ‘50s and refused to let go. But say what you like about him, he was a fighter for his own; a representative of the mind of the South but a defensive mind, like the last warrior on “Lost” island in opposition to the Others.
But it was a South which had already let go decades before and had joined the world, even led the world, while Jesse was still holding fast to the past.
Then in a monumental shift in sensibility, my Baptist, Democrat precinct which had voted that way for 120 years made a techtonic shift and 85% changed registration to Republican. The South was coming into American and it was good for the South and good for America. Historian Dan Carter even proposed that America was becoming “Southernized.
It hasn’t been the smoothest transition. From old school pig farmer Lauch Faircloth (?) overnight to John Edwards, a new kind of Democrat who spend more on his hair than most of us in Tobaccoville spent on our pick up trucks.