Sept. 22, 2014. Dear Editor,
I had the privilege of attending the debate between Representative Jonathan Jordan and challenger Sue Counts. I deeply appreciate the civility and respect which both Mr. Jordan and Ms. Counts displayed toward each other throughout the debate.
One of the more interesting exchanges of the evening came when the candidates were asked if they favored more or less government. Such a simplistic question led to a bare bones answer from Mr. Jordan: less government. This reflects Mr.
Jordan’s ideology, and we can all respect his views on that. Ms. Counts’ answer, however, reflected real thoughtfulness: she said it depends upon the facts of the matter. In some cases more government is needed; in other cases, less government is needed. What we need, she stressed, is effective government answerable to the people. Her answer was pragmatic, not ideological. I respect that, and I support the more pragmatic and less ideological candidates.
Ironically, however, Mr. Jordan might not be so ideologically pure as he would like people to believe. He claimed to always favor less intrusive government, but he admitted to supporting two measures that intrude upon the local democratic process and deprive citizens of equal protection. He defended his efforts to use the state legislative action to thwart the decisions of the Boone Town Council, even referring several times to the abusive Boone Town Council. It is hardly less government to have the state legislature reach down into municipal level politics to derail the decisions of legitimately elected local officials.
Mr. Jordan also favors using state power to deny religious liberty to some citizens in North Carolina. He declared his firm support for Amendment One, which denies the right of marriage to same-sex couples. In doing so, Amendment One effectively prohibits churches that do sanction same-sex marriage from carrying out their mission to perform legal marriages for their members. Mr. Jordan denies my religious liberty because he would not allow me to be legally married within my church, which does sanction same-sex marriage. And my church, the Episcopal Church, is no radical fly-by-night alternative church, either, but literally the first established church in North Carolina. In the colonial period it was supported by tax money and used the power of government to oppress all the other churches. Fortunately, the American Revolution came along and implemented separation of church and state. But in supporting Amendment One, Mr. Jordan shows that he is perfectly willing to use state power to prevent churches from carrying out their beliefs when those beliefs interfere with his own religious views. That is hardly in line with his own ideology of less government and more freedom.
I appreciate the service of Representative Jordan. State representatives receive little thanks or compensation, and I admire anyone willing to sacrifice time and energy in order to serve. But this is one independent voter who has looked at both candidates, and will support Sue Counts on the issues.