Editorial: Responsibility is attached to our growth

Mar. 27, 2014 @ 11:41 PM

Cynics among us may argue it was only a matter of time for us up-and-coming small-timers.

We’ll stand by the side of individuals making choices and now facing responsibility. In the case of Charlotte’s fallen mayor, it is a choice connected only to one man.

A relatively short time ago, North Carolina wasn’t a battleground state for national politics. It was just one of many that were important but not necessarily drawing a lot of chatter when it came to deciding elections.

Our commerce was born in days gone by, with agriculture and textiles prominent. The military has always been an identifying trait, recognized consistently during the Cold War era when we wondered about buttons launching missiles and where they would land.

When it came to professional sports teams, North Carolina wasn’t even in the conversation. Sure, we had our minor league baseball ¬— and even got a big-time movie from it.

But watching our favorite pro teams on television meant cheering for teams from other states. When Charlotte and Raleigh grew enough, in came the NBA, NFL and NHL. Having pro sports cities can and, in our state’s case, does equate to status achievement.

Now we’ve seen an unfamiliar casualty. The mayor of our state’s largest city, a hub for banking and energy, has fallen from grace less than a year into office on bribery charges.

Patrick Cannon’s words, captured in the sting, echo loudly for what we often fear.

“I’m not one of those Chicago or Detroit type folk,” he told an agent.

Ouch. Nothing like a stereotype.

Our state and cities are about Southern charm and hospitality. We should be viewed no more as country bumpkins than home to corrupt political and real estate dealers.

We’re not absent of elected officials gone astray, whether in Charlotte, the General Assembly or points between the mountains and the coast. But allegations against Cannon are just that — related to him.

Responsibility comes with growth. That includes a politician like Cannon, and it includes a state like North Carolina.

As we in the Tri-County try to grow individually and as a region, we’ll be smart to learn a lesson from Cannon’s unfortunate fall.