The Great Divide

Charlotte’s booming. Raleigh’s booming. But in Hoke and Hyde and dozens of other rural counties working families are struggling to make ends meet. It’s the ‘Great Divide.’ The distance between the urban world and the rural world in our state. The divide has now gotten the attention of the politicians but the result is not what you’d hope.

Last week with the best of intentions, newly elected Democratic State Representative from Charlotte, Chaz Beasley tackled the problem in an interview with the Charlotte Business Journal. Beasley explained he wants to build a bridge across the divide: “I’m one of the few urban representatives that actually grew up in rural North Carolina – I grew up in Catawba County – and that’s a bridge we have to build.”

From Charlotte, Catawba County may look like a rural county on the far side of the great divide. But it’s not. If you want to see a rural community, struggling for jobs, drive to Raeford or Swan Quarter or any of a hundred other rural small towns.

Rep. Beasley meant well but showed us how far apart the two worlds are. I appreciate his connection to Hickory, but bridging the great divide will be a different, and bigger, job.

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