June 1, 2019
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
A Fearless Political Leader of the Present:
Representative Larry Pittman
Back on May 25 in this series I called to mind several significant and admirable political figures of the past: one, the late Senator Jesse Helms who exercised an influence on both the national and state level; and another, the late state Senator Hamilton Horton who left his impressive mark on North Carolina state politics as the “epitome of the traditional Southern gentleman.” Both I came to know and deeply respect…and both are sorely missed in today’s ugly, hysterical and feculent political atmosphere, where to quote Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, “the world is turned upside down.”
Yet, in the midst of our foul political culture where most politicians make prostitutes look like angelic Sunday school teachers, there are some good men around, usually unheralded, doing their very best to push back against the frenzied rot that threatens to engulf us. It may seem like a Sisyphean task—going against the dawning inevitability that we live in a rotting and dying culture, that anything we do to staunch the decay is futile. Nevertheless, like the great Roman general Aetius in latter days of the Roman Empire, these men continue their combat.
There are at least two members—and probably a few more—of the North Carolina House of Representatives who deserve mention: one, Representative Michael Speciale, from New Bern, is not a native Tar Heel, but he has been a champion of the traditions of North Carolina, a defender of both the North Carolina and American constitutions. Regretfully, he has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2020 (although I would recommend that readers contact him and urge him to reconsider).
Representative Speciale has worked in tandem in so many situations with another outstanding and fearless political leader: Representative Larry Pittman of Cabarrus County. Of all the 120 members in the North Carolina House of Representatives, Representative Pittman deserves the sincere thanks of the citizens of this state for his valiant stand in support of our heritage, and in particular, in defense of the symbols and monuments of that heritage.
He has worked tirelessly in the North Carolina General Assembly to have the monument to University of North Carolina (UNC) volunteers—“Silent Sam”—who went off to war in 1861-1865 restored to its rightful place on campus, attaching riders to budget bills for the university that would require such action. And despite the failure of the House leadership to follow through, Pittman has continued his efforts, contacting members of the UNC Board of Governors who have governing oversight of the university, and urging citizens to take appropriate action.
But Representative Pittman’s beliefs and stands reflect a deeper and more profound philosophy, based squarely on his religious faith (he is an Evangelical Presbyterian minister) and his understanding that our Constitution forms the bedrock of the American republic—and that bedrock has been perilously attacked and perverted during much of the past century.
His unswerving constitutionalism and convictions led him in February 2017 (joined by fellow Representatives Speciale and George Cleveland of Onslow County), to propose a constitutional amendment (House Bill 147) that would have allowed North Carolina voters to repeal Article I, Section 4 of the North Carolina Constitution. This article declares that "This State shall ever remain a member of the American Union; the people thereof are part of the American nation," and prohibits the state from seceding from the United States of America. Its inclusion in North Carolina’s 1868 constitution was a condition for being readmitted into the Union after defeat in the War Between the States. Pittman’s bill passed the first reading on February 22, 2017, but was then referred to the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House, where it languished and essentially died.
On May 8, 2012, North Carolina had voted by an overwhelming margin, 61% to 39%, to enshrine traditional one-man/one-woman marriage into its state constitution (i.e., Amendment 1), essentially outlawing same sex marriage. Nevertheless, against all previous constitutional precedent the United States Supreme Court decided by a narrow 5 to 4 vote on October 14, 2014, in its controversial Obergefell v. Hodges decision, that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same sex couples by both the Due Process Cause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States C0nstitution.
Once again Representative Pittman, with Representatives Speciale and Carl Ford of Rowan County, stood against the insanity: they co-sponsored House Bill 780, introduced on March 14, 2017. This bill would have ended North Carolina's recognition of same sex marriage in direct defiance of the US Supreme Court ruling, citing the Holy Bible and two millennia of legal practice as justification. The bill passed the first reading on April 13, 2017, and was referred to the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House, where it would die. State house Speaker Tim Moore stated that the bill would not proceed further due to concerns about its constitutionality. Nevertheless, Pittman stood his ground, stating that North Carolina should uphold traditional marriage "in spite of the opinion of a federal court that had no business interfering” in long held belief and practice.
Unafraid to assail other sacred cows of the loony Left which now seem to dominate everything from education to entertainment as well as our politics, Representative Pittman managed to enrage the climate fanatics as well. In 2012 he wrote, against the new sacred dogma of climate change—and correctly, based on concrete scientific data and not computer projections—“Our climate runs on a cycle. It goes up and it goes down and the Lord designed it that way. And the main thing that causes global warming is the Earth's relationship to a big ball of gas that's burning out there that we call the Sun. And it is the height of hubris for human beings to think that we can have any effect on that."
Undaunted by criticism, and as a faithful son of the Tar Heel State and far better read on the War for Southern Independence than even many historians, Representative Pittman declared in 2017 that Abraham Lincoln was in some ways similar to Adolf Hitler, in that he was “personally responsible for the deaths of over 800,000 Americans in a war that was unnecessary and unconstitutional." Outraged media and political leaders, both Democrat and Republican, literally ran to the microphones to denounce this statement. Yet, is this not the finding essentially of such respected historians as William Marvel (Mr. Lincoln Goes to War, 2006), Thomas di Lorenzo (The Real Lincoln, 2003), and Thomas Fleming (A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War, 2013)?
At a legislative reception hosted by the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans, March 21 this year, Representative Larry Pittman was honored with the Governor John W. Ellis Award for his services to the defense of this state’s heritage.
I am proud and honored to call Larry Pittman my friend, and even prouder that his voice—a “sign of contradiction”—continues in the halls of the North Carolina General Assembly.
I urge you to assist him in his bid for re-election in 2020. Here is how you may do so (financially by check):
Committee to Elect Larry Pittman
P. O. Box 6311
Concord, North Carolina 28027