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It’s time to end divides and move forward

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The year that’s ending wasn’t an especially good one.

As the curtain prepares to close on 2019, our country’s leaders remain deeply divided over President Trump and whether to remove him from office. Similarly, their constituents back home are split over the president, and even worse, on Trump and other matters, many American refuse to listen to opposing views, or they shout them down when they hear them.

North Carolina, the state, is divided too. The Republican-controlled General Assembly passed a budget this summer, but Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, vetoed the spending plan, in part because it did not include an expansion of Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor. State government is operating but at last year’s spending level, meaning that public schools aren’t getting the dollars needed to support enrollment growth.

The new year will bring elections at most levels of our government, which is not to say we’re choosing sides between incumbents and their challengers. But it does mean we’re hoping for competitive primary and general election races that produce winners with the willingness to move this nation, state and county forward.

Impeachment proceedings, warranted or not, don’t make health care more affordable, they don’t protect Americans and their private information from hackers and big tech companies, they don’t balance the interests of free trade against the jobs of Americans, they don’t help protect freedom-loving people everywhere from the sinister forces that would enslave them.

In North Carolina, the budget standoff, even if principled as opposed to political, isn’t moving the state forward. It’s not making public schools better, for example, and it’s not helping rural communities that are drying up as young people and jobs migrate to the state’s growing cities.

We’re not big on New Year’s resolutions, which often have a short shelf life. But we’re OK with soul-searching, which our many elected leaders might want to try if they truly want to meet our many challenges.