Losing Liz

Liz HairBY MEBANE RASH     When my Dad told me that Liz Hair passed away, I felt a deep sadness and loss.

In part, it was for my step-mother, Betty Chafin Rash.  Liz and Betty became friends over politics – Liz serving on the Mecklenburg County Commission and Betty serving on the Charlotte City Council. Liz was Betty’s mentor, but they also seemed to love each other unconditionally – a rare find these days.

In part, it was for me.  I remember being in awe of this female warrior from very early on, her stately elegance combined with her fiery gusto seemed an unusual but particularly effective mix.  In part, it was for our state.  Capturing the wisdom of our most important leaders seems more important now than ever as we try to walk down the road of learning to be a two-party state.  I wonder how Liz would have advised us on striking the balance – between fighting for the issues we care about most but doing so in a way that fosters respect and civic dialogue.

In part, it was for Liz.  Salman Rushdie writes of a daughter considering her father’s death, “She saw in him a desperate need to believe that the ending of his age would be happy, and that the new world which would come after would be better than the one that would die with him.”  Liz was too sophisticated to wish for happiness, I think, but I bet she wanted the North Carolina of our future to be better than the North Carolina of our past.

It is time for women of all political stripes to step up to the plate in honor of Liz and all the female warriors that have paved the way for us.  It is time to involve as many women has possible in the hard work of shaping the future of the state we all call home and we all love.

Mebane Rash is the Director of Law and Policy for the nonpartisan N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.

Cross posted with permission




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