Displaying items by tag: politics

There has never been a president like Donald Trump. There has never been a campaign like the campaign that Trump waged to win the election. And there has never been a first month of a new administration like the first month of the Trump administration.

His detractors — and I am one of them — need to stop saying, “This is not normal.” Of course it is not normal. It was never supposed to be normal. The appeal of Trump was built upon that precipice. The American people were fed up with “normal” as it pertains to American politics, so to use that particular phrase as a rallying cry of the resistance is to miss the point entirely.

A Smoky Mountain News inquiry into collection procedures in the Haywood County tax collector’s office shows that some county GOP leaders are not being aggressively pursued for payment.

With the new session of the North Carolina Legislature underway, a flurry of bills has been filed in both the House and Senate — more than 180 of them — as of Feb. 14. 

As the holidays drew to a close, I began preparing for the reporting we will do on the upcoming session of the North Carolina General Assembly and kept watching President-elect Trump and the Congress — Republicans and Democrats alike — jousting on several fronts. 

In this still politically charged post-election atmosphere, I found myself trying to define my own beliefs and establish my own footing, as I know countless ideological debates lie ahead. Why do I support certain actions, programs and leaders over others? When did my fundamental political beliefs come together to form the basis of what I believe today?

Now that it’s 2017, I can’t bear the thought of continuing to fixate on politics and its atmosphere of pomposity and negativity that paints a picture of this country far different from what I encounter in my everyday life. It’s part of my job to cover this stuff, but our lives are about so much more than politics.

During the holiday season I was fortunate to spend quite a bit of time with a lot of young adults — my kids and their friends are all ages 18 to 24, and nephews and nieces were around who are as old as 28. And here’s what I heard from them: they aren’t buying into the vision of a country that is crumbling. Instead, I would argue that it’s the fresh optimism of the young — their belief that they can fix problems others have ignored or caused — that helps fuel this country’s ongoing prosperity.

2016: A Year.

The tidal wave of negative political news in 2016 was staggering in its magnitude and emotionally overwhelming. Thankfully all that is behind us. But we can’t say adios to the year’s local news until our writers and editors sift through those events and mold them into our annual tongue-in-cheek spoof awards. With apologies in advance to those who can’t take a joke, here’s our tribute to the people and events that left an indelible mark on 2016.

It’s been a bizarre year in North Carolina’s state legislature, and that hasn’t led to the state looking good in national media headlines. 

But after four special sessions (and counting), the legislature appears to be finally winding up while addressing the same issue that brought international scorn and widespread business boycotts to the Old North State earlier this spring.

I don’t know about you, but I need a quiet place about now. I need to turn off the news and close my laptop and just take a break from all of the noise. I need to put my fury away, shut down all the lights except for those on the Christmas tree, and have Doris Day sing “Silver Bells” to me alone, slumping down in my easy chair with a hot mug of chamomile tea here as the whole miserable year collapses into darkness.

Joe Sam Queen counts his campaign wins and losses like innings in a baseball game.

Mark Swanger tucked into his leather armchair beside a roaring gas fire, an expansive view of his Fines Creek family farm unfurling beyond the bay windows of his log home.

Calm, cool and collected as always, he was ready for another round of a marathon interview aimed at capturing the sweeping tenure of his 20-year political career in Haywood County.

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