The Observer editorial board Taylor Batten, Fannie Flono, Peter St. Onge and Kevin Siers will deliver its take on DNC doings, from inside the convention hall to out in the streets. But thats not all. Well also bring you perspectives from across the community. We invited 10 outside voices to share their thoughts all week. Meet them here.
Left and Right Turns
By Bess Kercher
Special to the Observer
Bess Kercher and Jack Cobb are longtime Charlotte residents who will be sharing their thoughts on the DNC from different vantage points. Kercher is a liberal political junkie, writer and stay-at-home mom. Cobb, a partner at the law firm McGuire Woods, is a conservative political junkie who worked on Capitol Hill for years before moving to Charlotte.
As a lifelong Charlottean (since I was two, anyway), I experienced our growth from a bustling town to a thriving city. I have benefited personally from the dynamic business, education and arts communities. But I also know that our greatest strengths may be found in the smaller, sometimes quieter spaces: in the backyards and family rooms of the most gracious people in the world. We are uniquely qualified to host the convention. Let me be clear: when it comes to Charlotte, I am absolutely biased.
As a life-long Democrat officially since I registered to vote as a West Charlotte High School senior my excitement has grown since the convention location was announced. Because my liberal-leaning world view has underscored my college studies, my most formative job working with battered women and their children, my volunteer efforts in political campaigns, and my vote, I am excited that this president is coming to town. Let me be clear: When it comes to politics, I am absolutely biased.
My two boys have noticed my convention energy: volunteering with the Freedom Schools Field Day at Bruns Academy and the Day of Service at the YWCA; attending the WFAE public conversation Politics In the Streets and the Access to America lecture on education. They have seen my community credential and know that means I will be at Bank of America stadium with President Obama. My husband, a Republican, has encouraged their participation in this historic moment, just like so many Charlotteans with different views have pulled together to make this important event possible.
There will be many great stories this week. I look forward to sharing them with you.
By Jack Cobb
Special to the Observer
It is with much gratitude and a little trepidation that I begin a week of commenting on the DNC.
I am a husband, a father of three, an attorney, and a registered Republican. I am right-of-center on fiscal and foreign policy matters, less so on various social issues.
I am also a Charlotte native. I grew up here in the 1970s and early 1980s, before the the arrival of all the sophistication, traffic jams and transplants. The Charlotte of that era had a serious inferiority complex. For example, back then most cool bands skipped Charlotte. Now, the national convention for the sitting president has rolled into town. Taste it, Atlanta.
My interest in politics arises out of earlier stints in my professional life. I spent several years in the 1990s as an attorney for a U.S. Senate committee. I moved back to private law practice in Charlotte, but rejoined the government during 2006-07, to run part of the Senates investigation relating to Hurricane Katrina.
From those experiences, I have learned that most people in government are well-intentioned and conscientious, contrary to the frequent caricatures. But I have also learned that government programs seem to share two attributes: enormous opposition to change, and entrenched constituencies.
The DNC could not be coming to Charlotte at a more important time for our country. So much of todays political rancor arises from a simple fact: We have some very difficult decisions to make as a nation and no consensus about the right way to go.
Lets sit up straight and welcome our guests from the DNC with open arms. But lets also listen carefully for answers to the pressing questions before us about entitlement reform and tax policy, not to mention our many foreign policy perils.