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This, that and the other

02 women arguingI don’t know about you, but I find our national politics more confusing than ever. We tend to pigeonhole people by what we think they believe and by their political registrations, but in reality, human beings and our politics are much more nuanced. The venerable Pew Research Center, which bills itself as “a non-partisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, trends, and attitudes shaping the world,” has come up with 9 political categories to describe Americans in 2021.

These classifications range from “Solid Liberals” on the left to “Core Conservatives” on the right with lots of diversity in between, including “Disaffected Democrats,” “Market Skeptic Republicans,” “Devout and Diverse,” and not surprisingly, “Bystanders.” Both ends of the spectrum, liberals and conservatives, are mostly white, even though the diverse progressive wing of the Democratic Party gets the most press. Liberals are the most educated of the nine groups, while conservatives are the whitest.
 
In between, the lines are more blurred. Minority Americans tend to be less liberal than the solid liberals, favoring border security and skeptical about free trade. They are also religious and worry about crime. They reject the racism of the far right. The same can be said of working-class Americans of all races and backgrounds. Hence, devout and diverse category. The Pew Research Center, with all its polls, research and analysis, is saying what we all know in our hearts — that most Americans are moderate, caring people who want only good for our nation and for each other. The screaming, name-calling, and — yes, violent behavior, comes from the extremes of each end of the spectrum, not the broad middle.
 
The recent mayoral contest in New York City has rocketed ranked choice voting to the national consciousness. Ranked choice voting is new-ish, having been used by overseas voters in some states for federal elections. It is also used in non-governmental elections, including student government and Academy Award elections. It is gaining increasing acceptance for city and state contests, largely in the western part of the United States. 
 
There are various versions of RCV, and all involve marking a first-choice candidate and then ranking others. Gradually, some candidates fall away, and someone eventually prevails. North Carolina experimented with the system in 2010 in elections for Superior Court and Court of Appeals judges. The Republican controlled General Assembly repealed RCV in 2013 as part of a sweeping Voter ID bill, later struck down by the courts. 
 
While RCV would be a learning curve for most of us, it makes sense. In today’s highly contested elections with prolonged recounts and charges of fraud, RCV would ultimately result in an elected official most voters selected, if not first, then somewhere down the line and would go a long way toward eliminating elections with crowing winners and bitter losers and their like-minded supporters.
 
As we emerge from pandemic restrictions, it is clear that people are ready to return to “normal life,” whatever that means to each of us. It is also clear that our COVID year-plus has changed some things forever. Some of us will continue to work remotely. We will likely continue to meet via Zoom or something like it both professionally and in our personal lives. Restaurants may be less sit-down and more casual. And, after months in yoga pants and sweats, relaxed dressing seems here to stay, making business casual the new everyday norm.
 
It all makes me wonder what about pre-pandemic life I really do want to bring back…

The Best of Fayetteville tradition continues

01 BOF LOGOThis year, as Up & Coming Weekly is celebrating our 25th anniversary, I am incredibly proud that 2021 also marks our 24th Best of Fayetteville celebration of the Best of the Best people, businesses and organizations in Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County. For a quarter of a century, we have showcased this community and told its stories. We have championed its successes, supported its causes and celebrated our diverse community's quality of life and uniqueness. 

We’ve all heard the saying “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Well, that’s exactly how I feel about working here at the Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper. And, it is this time of year that I like the most. This is the time for the Best of Fayetteville readership survey - a time when we reach out to our readers and ask them what and who they love and appreciate most about this community. Do they have a favorite restaurant? Who has the best car wash? What is your favorite theater, nonprofit organization, entertainment venue or veterinarian?
 
This is your chance to tell us who is the Best of the Best in Fayetteville. The voting takes place during July. So please pick up a copy of the Up & Coming Weekly, fill out a ballot, mail it to us, or visit our website, www.upandcomingweekly.com and vote online. Either way, make sure you VOTE! 
 
After all the votes are in, verified and counted, we publish a Special Best of Fayetteville Edition of Up & Coming Weekly showcasing the winners. The Special Edition will be presented at the Best of Fayetteville Party, where we congratulate and celebrate the winners. This Special Edition will be on our website for the entire year.
 
The ballots are out, so make sure you VOTE! And on September 29th, you can pick up the Special Edition announcing the winners — the people, organizations and businesses that YOU have designated "Best of the Best." 
 
About Best of Fayetteville: Best of Fayetteville is sanctioned and audited. We do not use nominations, and Up & Coming Weekly does not pre-sell advertising ads to nominate, promote or influence specific businesses or organizations for Best of Fayetteville. However, we encourage businesses to promote themselves and encourage their customers, friends and family to cast a ballot on their behalf. Up & Coming Weekly does no pre-ballot advertising sales. Nor do we sell or require businesses or organizations to participate with advertising purchases for pre-contest special sections to get their business officially printed on the ballot. 
 
After the ballots are verified and tallied, there is only ONE winner in each category. At this time, winners are allowed to purchase advertising and marketing packages in the Best of Fayetteville Special Edition to thank their customers and supporters. The Best of Fayetteville Special Edition is a valuable component of the program because it is used all year long to promote the Fayetteville community to visitors, guests and newcomers to Fort Bragg and Cumberland County. This is the most effective way for the winners to capitalize on their Best of Fayetteville achievement. Also, in recognition, these unique marketing programs are significantly discounted so winners can take full marketing advantage of the honor. Winners have only one opportunity to participate in these advertising programs — and it's only after they've won. 
 
In addition to a beautiful wall plaque awarded to each Best of Fayetteville winner, they are authorized to use the official Best of Fayetteville logo in all their advertising and marketing. Best of Fayetteville is an exclusive designation. The way we implement and manage the program is what has made it credible and sustainable. Is the survey perfect? No. However, the survey results speak for itself, recognizing the Best of Fayetteville as one of this community's most respected and prestigious achievements and awards. 
 
We launch the Best of Fayetteville readership survey during July to avoid conflicting with The Fayetteville Observer's Reader's Choice Awards, their annual advertising sales promotion. The Reader's Choice advertising-based program should not be confused with the Best of Fayetteville Awards program. If you have any questions about whether you're participating in the Best of Fayetteville readership survey or someone else's advertising program, take a good, long look at the ballot. If it refers to nominations, names and ads pre-printed on the ballot, it is NOT the Best of Fayetteville.
 
So, what are you waiting for? Cast your vote and let your voice be heard! Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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