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Ask Boomer With Attitude 

9/11, the thrill of local elections, more

Welcome to another episode of Ask Boomer With Attitude. This time around, one of the questions below is actually from a CL reader, and not made up in order to allow me to write about a subject I want to address. Send in your questions, gripes and love offerings to john.grooms@creativeloafing.com.

Dear BWA: So, how about those exciting local primary elections, huh? What a thrill. — Ms. Sarcasm

Dear Ms. Sarcasm: I feel your pain; surely Charlotte has never seen a more uninspiring and frankly dispiriting primary campaign. Oh, wait a minute, my mistake — they're nearly always that boring. Personally, I'd love to see a Charlotte mayoral candidate like Jeffrey Wagner in Minneapolis. He's running on a platform that says, "I will not take money from developers. I will not take money from the political angle. I will not even go to the strip clubs anymore. Wake the fuck up!" Of course, that kind of, um, enthusiasm would never happen here, as we're in short supply of politicians with the necessary pluck. In fact, with rare exceptions — e.g., mayors Gantt and Foxx — this city doesn't often produce innovative candidates with anything new to say. That's because anyone wishing to be considered a "serious" candidate for public office here must toe the city power structure's banking/corporate line. That's one way, along with gerrymandering, that Charlotte winds up with council races that are pre-decided before the general election, and with mayoral candidates who are about as inspiring as a couple of lunchboxes. No wonder not even 10 percent of voters show up for off-year primaries. The takeaway: Don't expect any big changes, nor much in the way of creative thinking for the next couple of years, no matter who wins. Sorry.

Dear BWA: I noticed you didn't write anything to commemorate 9/11 — did you and your liberal pals already forget? — The Patriot

Dear Patriot: Sorry, we didn't realize it was required; sure hope Homeland Security doesn't bust us. Seriously, how could anyone in America forget the huge shock of 9/11? The U.S. media has flogged the tragedy so thoroughly ever since that day, that "not remembering" 9/11 is as likely as forgetting to take your major organs along when you leave the house in the morning. I know we're all told that every Sept. 11 should be a day of commemoration, but that idea seems truly odd to me. It's as if Kuwait was expected to throw a big party on the anniversary of being invaded by Saddam Hussein.

I know someone who lost a family member in the New York attacks, and I feel terrible for him every time I think of it, but to tell the truth, I'm more concerned these days about America after 9/11. Financially and politically ruinous, tragic wars; the moral degradation that comes with defending torture; and the unprecedented, stunning growth in domestic surveillance and citizens' loss of privacy. Those are what I will always remember most about 9/11 — that the attacks were a prelude to, and an excuse for, our own government leading the nation to a permanently fearful, morally murky version of The Twilight Zone.

Don't get me wrong. Many people last week expressed very sincere feelings about 9/11, mostly about remembering that terrible day's victims, keeping vigilant and staying true to our basic national values. We've done the first two things pretty well, but the core "national values" of our democracy? Battered in the past 12 years by wars, fear mongering, Wall Street-triggered economic disaster, the NSA's big-brotherism, and now the corporate dominance of our elections, those apparently defunct national values are what we should be commemorating, and fighting to return to.

Dear BWA: I can't wait for the day Rev. Mark Harris takes Kay Hagan's U.S. Senate seat; then you'll eat your words. — Stephen Racklen

Dear Stephen: I guess you're referring to a blog post from a few weeks back regarding Harris, who is senior minister at Charlotte's First Baptist Church, leader of the Baptist State Convention, and a former leader of the 2012 Amendment One anti-gay-marriage campaign. I wrote that Harris is supposedly an affable guy, but "the idea of the leader of the state's Baptists representing N.C. in Washington makes me pretty nervous, not to say horrified." If Harris does wind up running against and defeating Kay Hagan, I won't eat any words, as I didn't say he would lose. But, coming on the heels of Amendment One, the election of the current batch of lawmakers, and McCrory's political castration by Tea Partiers in the General Assembly, I probably would move to a state that hadn't regressed to the paleolithic age. I'm sure I'd have plenty of familiar company on the way out of state.

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