The newly Inaugurated 74th Governor of North Carolina came into office with a bang last week as the festivities celebrating Governor Pat McCrory’s Inauguration started a new chapter in the Executive office.
Governor McCrory started his Inauguration week by hosting open houses across North Carolina. The Governor had an easygoing approach that could be seen by his behavior at the Rock the Ball celebration at the Lincoln Theatre. As McCrory walked out to the stage to address his supporters he spoke of getting young people involved in politics.
After his speech, Governor McCrory played the drums for a short time, playing the bass line to Queen’s “We will rock you” and encouraged the crowd to clap along with the beat.
When the Governor finished playing the drums he made his way through the crowd and was told by his security that he should not be so close to his group of supporters.
McCrory then told his staff that he wanted to hear the band and stayed near the front of the stage, talking with random folks and relatives.
He walked up to the band and asked them if they would play any songs by the Beatles or the Who. This should come as no surprise as McCrory has a taste for Classic rock making the Who’s “Won’t get fooled again” one of his campaign slogans.
Governor McCrory’s call for young people to pursue a career in politics and public service is much needed.
While North Carolina remains a beacon of hope for the kids who were born into wealth and the ambitious youth who are fortunate enough to find a job opportunity in this economy, there are many young people across the nation that do not care about politics.
They say it’s too corrupt, and that the Government doesn’t care about the needs of its citizens. Even Former Governor Beverly Perdue spoke of this corruption to a group of interns in July of 2011 saying that when young people think of politicians they think of a crook who takes all of the people’s money and keeps it for themselves. Adding that, she hoped the experience they gained through their internships changed their ideas about politicians being corrupt people.
While Interning may not always be the most effective route for expressing political action, this concern over the apathy expressed by young people is a global problem and has even caught the attention of the United Nations.
U.N Youth Ambassador Brooke Loughrin talked about this problem in a open conference call with politically engaged youth last month offering some solutions of her own by saying, “It’s important to make politics relevant to their lives and what they are going through.” To engage young people in politics Loughrin suggests that politicians have to make themselves seem more human and to be more personal with young people.
Right now young people have been hit the hardest by unemployment and the student debt crisis. With the unemployment rate for young people in America being unacceptably high. All of this on top of North Carolina having the 5th highest unemployment rate in the nation for several months in a row says enough about the Government’s leadership.
A Grand Gala
It was a foggy night when the Governor’s main Inaugural ball took place, with many young people not being seen until later on in the night. Things got started with a private Governor’s reception that cost $150 to attend. The ballroom was was dimly lit, with the feel of an exclusive nightclub.
While young people were lacking at the Governor’s reception, many of those who could afford it went to the Gala Presentation that was one of the main highlights of the night.
The event started with the council of state being introduced with the Governor and his wife who wore an elegant leopard print dress coming out last.
Everyone then took their seats as several video presentations began about North Carolina. Much was said about what made the state great by many famous N.C figures including, UNC Basketball coach Roy Williams, Scotty McCreery, Duke Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, and N.C States basketball coach Mark Gottfried.
Then Pat Wilkens, who is the President of the Junior League of Raleigh came out to give a brief address describing the history of the Junior League.
The Junior League has hosted the Governor’s Inaugural ball for over 80 years and it’s now their biggest event. They are a charity that since their inception has become a staple in helping improve the community.
One woman I spoke with who is associated with the Junior League told me that she once signed up to ride in a police car for a day to better understand the poverty stricken areas in Raleigh. And what can be done to help eliminate it.
After Ms. Wilkens remarks, the music began with the eagerly anticipated Avett Brothers highlighting the show. The band hails from Concord, N.C and has been a strong advocate for putting North Carolina on the map.
Governor McCrory then gave his speech to the crowd in which he called out the fact that many are struggling in this state. Saying, “There are a lot of people hurting in this economy and we have a lot of work to do.” Adding that, “I’ve got a four year lease on a new house in Raleigh but I’ve got to let you know that we won’t spend a lot of time there, We plan on visiting everyone across the state.”
But what got the crowd moving, was the NC A&T drumline who have recently participated in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Many were excited by the group running out into the crowd to get everyone’s attention. They made a grand exit by going up the escalators while still performing with the Governor and his wife following from behind.
Once the gala reception was over the party continued upstairs with Governor McCrory having his first dance with his wife Ann McCrory. The first lady had spent time reading books to kids and passing out lunch at the Durham rescue mission the day before.
Many members of the council of state danced the night away along with other key political figures from various political groups.
But now that the festivities celebrating Governor McCrory have come to a close, the future of North Carolina is as foggy as it was on the night of the Inaugural ball. The real work begins with the inevitable question being, what happens now?
Much was said at the Gala presentation about what makes North Carolina great, but for many North Carolinian's there is little to enjoy with high poverty, rampant corruption, rising homelessness and numerous problems that affect the true greatness of North Carolina.
The most burning question North Carolina faces is if our elected officials will work to improve the needs of the people before serving the needs of the state.
Profit is a big need of the state, and so far everything is being done to make as much of it as possible. Whether it be the Internet Sweepstakes gambling parlors that has made the State billions of dollars since their inception in 2009 or the laws from Raleigh’s city council that target the homeless community by making it a $500 fine to panhandle.
Work has been done for the needs of the state, but the passion for the needs of the people has yet to be truly seen.
The challenges that determine whether or not North Carolina can be what the Governor described as, “The greatest state in the U.S”. Now face not only our state Government, but all concerned citizens who believe that action must be taken to improve things as well.