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Editorial: Faith’s community spirit, patriotism must prevail

In our divided America, politics seep into everything.

And division often follows politics.

Mask-wearing recommendations are entirely too divisive and political for a health recommendation intended to blunt the spread of a largely unknown virus. Basic facts are in question as health care workers have tried to contain the same virus. And missteps at poorly run nursing homes and a still-pervasive lack of information in many areas hasn’t helped matters.

The latest victim of politicization appears to be the Faith Fourth of July celebration.

The governor’s executive orders are the reason for the cancellation, says organizer Randall Barger. The governor and/or his staff failed to definitively respond to at least one request submitted in early May for a waiver that could allow the celebration to continue. That waiver, provided in the form of a letter, would have been what the celebration needed to prevent law enforcement from shutting the event down and for insurance purposes.

And Barger is mostly right. Without Cooper’s executive order, the celebration could have gone forward as planned. Bands could have performed. A Faith Idol winner could have been crowned. Folks from across the state could have enjoyed some Fourth of July food favorites in the small town. A parade down through the center of town could have brought the same joy to onlookers that it has for 73 years in a row.

But the world in which a stay-at-home order was not issued looks much different than our current one: wider spread of the virus, larger numbers of severe cases and, unfortunately, more deaths.

It’s easy to choose anger and point fingers when there’s plenty of tragedy to go around — when people are dying before family members have a chance for a proper goodbye, when businesses and nonprofits of all types are struggling to keep the lights on and when there’s no end in sight for COVID-19. It’s harder to find compassion and creativity to ensure events don’t have to stop entirely.

The Cheerwine Festival’s virtual edition was a prime example of what’s possible. It wasn’t the same as the usual event, but it still brought joy to folks who were able to watch.

Phase 2 of the state’s reopening is scheduled to end just a few days before July 4, leaving the possibility for larger gatherings and some type of Fourth of July celebration in Rowan County’s most patriotic town. The civic clubs that benefit from the event and use those funds for good causes can still benefit. Organizers should use the necessary cancellation of business as usual as marching orders to organize some new and different.

Faith is a town that’s known for its patriotism and community spirit. That spirit must persevere over politics.

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