Winston-Salem chronicle. (Winston-Salem, N.C.) 1974-current, July 23, 2015, Page A5, Image 5
FORUM Pope Francis' advice about equality and justice, which 2016 hopefuls can use i BUI | Turner i Guest Columnist If the world looks like it's going to hell in a hand basket, Pope Francis preaches that the path and speed there are driven by the excesses of capitalism. The 78 year-old Argentina born-and-bred pontiff, who worked "among his coun try's most marginalized cit izens before becoming pope two years ago, spoke out against poverty, inequality, and official cor ruption recently while in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. South America, which holds 40 percent of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, was an appropri ate place for His Holiness to condemn the greed for money and call for "a glob al movement against the new colonialism that is rooted in an inequitable world economic order." Pope Francis will likely repeat those words when he visits America - ground zero for capitalism's excesses - later this sum mer when he addresses the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, and then carry his message on to NYC and DC. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont), a self described revolutionary and socialist, sings from the Pope's songbook on income equality and is pushing front-runner Hillary Clinton on how the gap between the haves and have rtots is corrupting everything and everybody. Senator Sanders got a loud ring of cheers from a crowd of 10,000 in Wisconsin recently when he denounced the facts of income inequality in America: "58 percent of new American income goes to the top 1 percent, the top 10th of that 1 per cent have more wealth than the bottom 90 percent, and the gap is wider than at any other point since just before the Great Depression." Pope Francis' concern for the poor in South America applies, relatively speaking, to African Americans: the typical black household has just 6 percent of the wealth of the typical white household. On average, white house holds had $111,146 in wealth holdings in 2011, compared to $7,113 for blacks, according to the U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Income and Program Participation. Pope Francis' perspec tive on these matters places him in the center of global activities. He calls out the masterminds of capitalism around the world, whom he ?says are not good stewards of the environment and are too greedy to share their wealth to create the condi tions for equality, justice and decent lifestyles for the poor. He visits Africa - Uganda and Kenya, where Catholicism is the fastest growing religion - in November, just behind his trip to the USA. On the other side of the Pope's world view is Republican presidential hopeful, Jeb!, one of five Catholics on the crowded GOP podium, who said recently, "I don't go to Mass for economic policy or for things in politics. I've got enough people helping me along the way with that." Even if Mr. Bush's way doesn't consider His Holiness' advice about the wickedness that springs from economic inequality, it's quite likely that he, like most, recognizes the lines written by a modest friar canonized in the 12th cen tury from whom the man born Jorge Mario Bergoglio took his papal name: "Lord make me an instrument of Thy peace" and the well-known saying also attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words." Pope Francis' necessary words, to be repeated again and again during the 2016 presidential campaign, which will be in full swing when he gets here in early fall, might well be: "It's the economic inequality, stu pid!" Dr. Bill Turner is a noted educator, writer and thinker who called Winston-Salem home for many years. Reach him at email@example.com. William H. Turner ?> 7/19/2015 Clinton Bush Pope Francis Sanders Warren Growth of the North Carolina solar industry is in jeopardy (Rhone Resch 1 Guest Columnist Earlier this year, North Carolina became just the fourth state in the nation to top - 1 .000 megawatts (MW) of installed solar capac ity, trailing only California, Arizona and New Jersey as America's solar leaders. But despite the state's rapid progress, the looming expiration of the federal invest ment tax credit (ITC) for solar energy is creating angst in the marketplace, threat ening to eliminate good-paying jobs statewide. It's no coincidence that North Carolina is ranked No. 1 in the entire South in installed solar capacity. Effective public policies, like the state's investment tax credit, renewable energy portfolio stan dards (RPS) and the federal ITC, are pay ing huge dividends for the state's econo my, creating thousands of new jobs and generating hundreds of millions of dollars a year in economic activity. Powered by a booming utility-scale market. North Carolina added 58 MW of new solar capacity in the first quarter of this year, bringing its statewide total to 1,011 MW - enough to power nearly 110,000 homes. Most impressively, the 58 MW added represents a robust 66 percent increase over the same quarter last year. The report went on to point out that North Carolina had increases in Q1 across all solar sectors, with installed residential and commercial system prices dropping 12 percent in the last year - and down nearly 50 percent since 2010. All totaled, $95 million was invested in North Carolina in the first quarter in new solar installations - and $747 million since the beginning of 2014. A lot of this economic activity is a direct result of the federal investment tax credit. Consider what's occurred since it was enacted in 2006: ? 150,000 new solar jobs have been added across America. ?Enough new solar has come online to power 4 million homes. ?More than $66 billion has been invested in new solar installations. ?And one-third of all new electricity added to the U.S. grid last year came from solar. North Carolina has benefitted greatly from this ramped-up activity, with thou sands of new jobs being created statewide. To put North Carolina's remarkable progress in some context, the 1,011 MW of solar installed in the state today is twice as much as the entire coun try had in 2004! Currently, there are 177 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in North Carolina, employ ing more than 5,600 people. What's more, from an envi ronmental perspective, solar installations in North Carolina are helping to off set more than 1 million met ric tons of harmful carbon emissions, which is the equivalent of removing 200,000 cars off the state's roads and highways. As it stands now, the 30 percent federal ITC will expire at the end of 2016, threatening to derail the rapid progress solar energy is making across North Carolina. By contrast, competing energy sources, such as fossil fuels, have had preferential treatment in the U.S. tax code for up to 100 years, while solar has had the federal ITC as an incentive for private investment for less than 10. As an industry, we're strongly urging North Carolina's Congressional delegation to support extending the ITC for at least five years. By then, many analysts are pre dicting, solar will reach grid parity in most electricity markets, helping to create a level playing field among energy produc Ron Rogers illustration for the Chronicle ers, which will benefit consumers, the U.S. economy and our environment. That's a win-win in anyone's book. Rhone Resch is president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, the national trade organization for America's solar energy industry. During his 10-yeartenure at SEIA, solar ha$ experienced record-breaking growth, becoming one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States with more than 8,000 companies and more than 174,000 employees. Veto the 'Historical Artifact and Patriotism Act,' Governor McCrory William J. Barber Guest Columnist This afternoon [Tuesday, July 21], the North Carolina House of Representatives voted to pass the "Historical Artifact and Patriotism Act." which makes it virtu ally impossible for local communities to move Confederate monuments. The measure, which came out of the House Homeland Security Committee, was fast-tracked to Gov. McCrory's desk to be signed. The NC NAACP and Forward Together Moral Movement call on Gov. McCrory to veto this bill. The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II has issued the fol lowing statement on their behalf: Rushing to protect monuments of the Confederacy rather than readily protecting the citi zens of our state is extreme and wrongheaded. The urgency with which the majority of our state repre sentatives raced to protect Confederate monuments is appalling and shameful, given that hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians live without health insurance due to the General Assembly and Governor's refusal to expand Medicaid; given that thousands of North Carolinians need a living wage, that teachers need job security, that public schools need adequate funding, that our environ ment needs adequate pro tections. The extreme leadership of our General Assembly fast-tracked a bill to protect symbols of the past that embody division and seces sion from the Union while they remain at an immoral standstill on the critical issues of our day that would help the poor and working poor as well as address the continuing real ity of racial disparities and inequality. In these perilous days, it would seem that the Homeland Security Committee might be pro tecting our lives instead of the Lost Cause. While it cannot rank with public safety or public schools as a priority, communities should be able to discuss moving Confederate mon uments off prominent pub lic places like courthouse lawns. These conversations would do more to advance historical understanding than any number of monu ments to the Confederacy. Museums, which are able to explain and contextual ize exhibits, might well be the best place for Confederate statuary. Government-run shrines to an army that sought to overthrow the United States of America by force do not make sense. Nor can they ever represent the North Carolinians whose ancestors suffered under the system of slavery that the Confederacy left America to defend. If we are putting up Civil War-era monuments, it would be well to include a monument to the enslaved Africans who buik the South and helped bring down the Confederacy - almost 200,000 African Americans, many of whom escaped from slavery, fought for the Union. We could consider a monument to Abraham Galloway, for example, who escaped from slavery, served as a Southern spy for the Union, and after the war helped to write the North Carolina Constitution that we still use. We might also consider a monument to the roughly ten thousand Heroes of America, better known as the "Red Strings," a secret society of white anti Confederate guerillas across the state. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary white North Carolinians believed that the Civil War was "a rich man's war and a poor man's fight," object ed to the tyranny of the Confederacy, which they have never voted to sup port, and resented Confederate conscription laws that exempted wealthy white men and their sons. As the war raged on. Gov. Zebulon Vance - who has a monument on the Capitol lawn - acknowledged that "the great popular heart is not now and never has been in this war. It was a revolution of the politicians and not the people." Likewise, there ought to be a monument to the Fusion Coalition of the 1890s, an interracial politi cal force that swept every statewide election, cap tured the legislature, won both U.S. Senate seats, and elected a governor, too. This Fusion alliance between mostly black Republicans and mostly white Populists was imper fect, to be sure, but was also an important experi ment in interracial democ racy. They could not be beaten at the polls, and their extreme opponents turned to violence, intima tion and fraud. The leaders who overthrew the state government in the 1898 "white supremacy cam paign" are represented by statues on the Capitol grounds; their Fusionist adversaries, who are a much better example for us~"~ today, are largely forgotten. Public metnorials are important. Rep. Marilyn Avila, a Raleigh Republican, states of this pro-Confederate bill: "When you talk about memorials and remem >rances, the point of time at vhich they were erected is ixtremely relevant. A lot of hese things were done ihortly after the War 3etween the States." In act, virtually none of the Zonfederate monuments were constructed until tearly fifty years after the war. If the state had tried to mild Confederate monu nents shortly after the Zivil War - "War Between he States" is the pro Zonfederate term - there likely would have been :ivil conflict. The real heroes of North Carolina are the pub lic school teachers for whom this legislature has shown contempt or indif ference. The real heroes are those who keep struggling without living wages or health care. The General Assembly would do well to protect them before they start protecting their own "right" to tell communities what to do with their public monuments. Re\\ Dr. William J. Barber 11 President. N.C. NAACP Working in Raleigh.