Forgetting the Road to the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence

I don’t know how the managed lane issue will pan out. At this point, I really don’t care. What is much more disturbing is the crescendo of vitriol that has replaced civil debate.

For some, the prospect of a toll lane is simply intolerable. The report that perhaps a toll in the year 2035 could reach $20, if the market will bear it, somehow morphed into a “fact” that the starting fee would be $20 each way. People still lament being forced to drive and pay a toll, when in actuality, there will be two
general purpose lanes and two managed lanes — a choice on any given day.

The reports that over 90% of North Meck citizens don’t want tolls is based on a Cornelius media poll…90% of the respondents didn’t want the plan. But how many responded? The Lake Norman Chamber also claimed a majority of their membership voted no…but the number again was around 90% of those members who responded and only 15 -20% of less than 2,000 members responded. Just take a glimpse of the FB pages Exit 28 Ridiculousness and How Occupy LKN Behaves to get an example of what has become a comfort level in public “debate”. Whether or not these opinions have validity, decision making should not be based on who can yell the loudest or make the worst threats to others.

Although many of us hail from other areas across the country, we are now citizens of Mecklenburg County. As such, we can proudly highlight the attributes that our County forefathers thought a civilized society needed in order to be successful. “We solemnly pledge to each other,” the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence reads, “our mutual cooperation, our lives, our fortunes, and our most sacred honor.”

There is no honor in condemning a neighbor for not sharing your belief. There is no honor in saying that people who support tolls should “be hanged” or “are not fit to live among us”. There is no honor in denying discussion or opposing viewpoints in information sessions. There is no honor to citizens when elected officials make decisions on behalf of our future based on emotion and fear of losing their office and without guidance of educated experts.

The Mecklenburg Declaration encourages the preservation of peace and unity and harmony and that simply cannot be achieved when emotions cloud our ability to have honest and respectful dialogue.

Whatever the final decision, let us remember that it is here in Mecklenburg County where the standards were set for our democracy along with the foundation to be able to freely debate. The quest for education on issues, for knowledge, for comprehending not only the short term but the long term viewpoints should be more important than the posts on social media. As should our relationships with each other.


Author: jillswain

Former Mayor Chamber of Commerce Exec. Director Advertising consultant Mom and spouse (30 years and counting!) Rec league girls' volleyball coach Champion of all things Huntersville, North Carolina

8 thoughts on “Forgetting the Road to the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence”

  1. Ms. Swain: Everything about the toll lanes was a mistake. Over-reaching by governments at every level to get something for nothing, with no understanding of the ultimate price to be paid. It’s time for the NCDOT and all to admit their mistakes and get this right.

    1. Mr. Burgess. Read my first paragraph. No matter your opinion, or that of your neighbor, we should simply show respect for those opinions. And I appreciate the kind tone in your comment. Perhaps this is the start….Thank you.

  2. I’m not a fan of the toll lane plan, but I’m less a fan of the way the opposition groups conduct themselves in public & online. Checking one’s emotions and sticking to facts & business are not always easy. I pointed this out to one of their most vocal members, and the reply I got was “we have to do anything needed to get results”. I don’t know how negative attitudes, verbal abuse, misinformation, accusations, or brow beating could come into play with that approach, but it has and seems to be the standard mode of operation. I feel sorry for the people that propagate that approach, as it certainly isn’t how an individual earns respect from others. Perhaps that’s not important for those persons, which is sad.

  3. I agree with everything you said, Jill, except about marketing research. Most bonafide research is based on sampling so the two studies you mentioned were indeed using those tried and true methods.

    Since there’s no possible way to garner data from all residents, a sample would be the only way to extrapolate public opinion.

    1. Actually, those aren’t valid sampling methods. A true survey would have had a random sampling of demographics. And would have asked additional questions to check the knowledge of the issue. And, for people to follow up and use those examples to say 90% of area residents is inaccurate. 90% of people who responded to the question. That could be 9 people.

  4. Jill, as usual, your thoughts are measured, logical, and make complete sense. It’s distressing that hyper-vocal and extreme minorities are dominating the news, the election campaigning, the the voting booths. I just hope and pray that sensible people will wake up and commit to being heard on the important issues of the day… and to making the effort to get out and VOTE!

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