Those who stay (in NC) will be champions | CLT Blog

Those who stay (in NC) will be champions

Posted on 9 May 2012 by Bobby DeMuro

Updated: now with video!

When Bo Schembechler took over as head coach of the University of Michigan’s football team, he instituted an immediate and drastic culture change that was very difficult for players to accept, but he repeatedly said one thing: those who stay will be champions.

And he was right; everyone who played four years of football at Michigan under Schembechler won at least one Big Ten Football Championship. Those who left, quit.

Last night, North Carolinians passed Amendment One. As they should be, many North Carolinians are disappointed. Amendment One is discriminatory, short-sighted, ignorant, regressive, and brings big government into your bedroom. A more offensive over-reach (from various political angles) I cannot recall.

My out-of-state friends are busy making fun of North Carolina today, and it hurts. The way they see it, all North Carolinians are a bunch of rednecks — back water, backwards bigots stuck in the 1920s — legislating against gay people, and unwed couples, and non-traditional families.

Hell, maybe we are.

But the only way that perception of us changes is if North Carolinians stay here, and do what needs to be done to make this right – for gay people, for unwed couples, for children — for our state.

Wait — you’re threatening to leave North Carolina because of this vote? Maybe move to San Francisco, or Austin, or Los Angeles? Ok. Get the hell out of here.

When you threaten to move, though, this becomes an issue bigger than yesterday’s vote. This becomes a referendum about whether you actually want to improve North Carolina, or whether you want to just back off like a child when something doesn’t go your way.

Look, if you want to be a quitter, be a damn quitter. Send me a post card from San Francisco, or Austin, or Los Angeles. No hard feelings. But when you run from our state over this, allow me to predict your future: you’ll never stop running.

When things get tough in your personal life, you’ll run. When your professional life doesn’t go quite as planned, you’ll run. When the next disappointing political decision comes down in your new city, you’ll run. Give it a few years, and you’ll find reason to run from San Francisco, or Austin, or Los Angeles.

Run on, quitters. Whether it’s San Francisco, or Austin, or Los Angeles, I can guarantee one thing: you’ll never stand for anything that matters.

But this is home. In spite of yesterday’s vote, I love it here. I’m proud to be from North Carolina, and I know that my home state is more than a punch line. Someday, we’ll prove it.

And those who stay will be champions.


  1. Rpelier 9 May 2012 at 6:48 PM

    While most may disagree with your stance in this state, this is still a great perspective on not running from your problems. Its just childish.

  2. John 9 May 2012 at 7:57 PM

    This is really, really good Bobby. The state will come around. Eventually. Until then, it’s on young folks to lead the way. (funny and kind of heartbreaking picture though!)

    • Anon 10 May 2012 at 11:04 AM

      Why does everyone assume all young people voted against this? That’s just as much a stereotypical classification as saying all black people like chicken and waffles.

      • stu 14 May 2012 at 5:20 PM

        Because we KNOW that young people are increasingly more accepting of gays and gay rights. Study upon study has shown this. I don’t know if we have the statistics on this particular amendment but I am beyond certain that the majority of voters under 30 voted against it.

        • Norgan 18 May 2012 at 7:43 PM

          100% agree. Tide will (and is, now) turn fast, hard, and decisively against the bigoted right on this one. “Wrong Side of History,” which some folks say about the anti gay movement, might be a LITTLE hyperbolic, but it’s the right attitude/trend — can’t wait to see what the supporters of amendment one say in 15 years.

      • Anon2 24 May 2012 at 11:29 AM

        Waffles? I thought it was watermelon.

    • Tally 10 May 2012 at 1:49 PM

      This is really good. Wish i could share it 100 times — this is a winning attitude. Intense, sure. Get over it. IF you want change, you’ve gotta get intense about it!

  3. Laurie 9 May 2012 at 9:17 PM

    Yes, Bobby. To all of it. Yes. Beautifully written.

  4. Bobby B. 9 May 2012 at 9:29 PM

    You’re right, Bobby. You can only create positive change from within. Running from the issue and criticizing from a far only makes it worse, and alienates and hurts even more people.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. said “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”. This is our generation’s challenge. We need to stand tall against it.

    • Bobby 9 May 2012 at 9:50 PM

      That’s exactly the idea — profiles in courage. Courage is owning your home. Good or bad. Improving the bad. Running from home when things get tough? Man, forget that noise.

  5. Micah 9 May 2012 at 9:36 PM

    Or maybe this law effects you in such a negative way that staying here is a danger to you and your health. I know it’s easy to stand on a moral high horse and dictate how other people live their lives, but staying doesn’t make you a better or a stronger person. Maybe you’d like to live in a place where you have some rights. That doesn’t make you a weak or morally inferior person.

    • Bobby 9 May 2012 at 9:48 PM

      I’d like to live in my home. My home is North Carolina. Is yours?

  6. Loren 9 May 2012 at 10:53 PM

    Our new rallying cry. You just wrote the treatise. Every damn word of it. GREAT, Bobby.

  7. Tom 9 May 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Great to see a heterosexual man take this on like you did, Bobby. It’s good to know that we all have allies that will support the gay community, and it’s not just us fighting for it ourselves. It’ll come because of people like you, and attitudes like this, to keep us in NC!

  8. ryan c. 10 May 2012 at 12:34 AM

    i’m amazed at the the people who don’t “get” this. showed it to a friend, she goes “no, good passion, but i’d leave the state.”

    uh.… what? Yeah, MLK would’ve left the state when things got difficult in Alabama. Gandhi would’ve left the whole damn country. Oh, and that Jesus fellow.

    If this is YOUR home, you work to improve YOUR home. Your metaphor is dead on and 100% correct and if somebody says it doesn’t work, they’re not only lying to you, they are dead-on-lying to their own faces — if you run now, when you claim to want something, you’ll run from anything. Frontrunners!

  9. Anon 10 May 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Human migration is a positive thing. There’s no need to be hostile to people who just want to live a good life with the people they love. Use the fact that good people are leaving as motivation to change, I agree… but the hostility towards folks who’ve had their fill of the more negative aspects of the south is unwarranted and unproductive.

  10. Anon 10 May 2012 at 10:54 AM

    Obviously you’re assumption that “most North Carolinans are upset” is incorrect or this wouldn’t have passed with such a gap. Just because Christians voted their opinion doesn’t mean they are “Redneck Jesuslanders”, it means they are Americans who exercised their right to vote their belief and did so in more volume than those that claimed to oppose this measure.

    • Bobby 10 May 2012 at 1:26 PM

      You don’t know the difference between the words “many” and “most,” do you? Or, did you not actually read the post? You gotta read it if you’re gonna comment, bro. That’s my only rule. You don’t need to like it — hell, hate it all day — but if you’re gonna comment on it, you have to actually read it.

    • Neil 10 May 2012 at 3:07 PM

      LOL PWNED. You got owned.

  11. Neil 10 May 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Great post, Bobby. Agree with it 100% — I want to stay, and fight, and see North Carolina become a progressive, intelligent, accepting place. It’s TOO EASY to leave.

  12. Michelle 10 May 2012 at 3:54 PM

    You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Ghandi

  13. Rude Christian 16 May 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Socratic Inquiry — Look at that map. Which view is in line with Natural Order? Jesus has changed a lot of hearts, so maybe we should ask: in which direction will “change” actually occur?

    • Norgan 18 May 2012 at 7:42 PM

      Socratic inquiry: this comment makes no sense. I propose we ban idiots from commenting here, this isn’t the Charlotte Observer.

  14. jenifer daniels 17 May 2012 at 10:23 AM

    well i love it

  15. Basil 23 May 2012 at 3:19 AM

    I’m glad you are taking a stand for what is right. But you are being unfair to gay and lesbian North Carolinians who decide to leave for less hostile states. That is a decision that they make for themselves, and no outsider (i.e. anyone who isn’t gay) can or should comment on it.

    Gays have to worry about things like getting fired for being gay, or losing healthcare, or being treated fairly by local officials or school boards. And maybe it is hard to bear the prospect of living in communities where your neighbors openly express their contempt for you. Maybe you have reason to worry about your safety. As a straight person, you bear none of these consequences. Don’t ever forget that.

    I admire the courage of those gays who would choose to stay in NC. But no one can question those who move on. Life is hard enough without fighting discrimination and threats of violence. To ask someone to bear those kind of risks is inappropriate.

  16. Joe 24 May 2012 at 9:42 AM

    Can you fix your map to show cities that voted against? Greensboro was against but the rest of the county wasn’t. Just saying.

  17. M Hatch 24 May 2012 at 10:09 AM

    OK so the “redneck Jesusland” stings. I am a United Methodist pastor who is grieved by my church’s stance on such matters but I have chosen to stay and fight from within. I voted against as did many of my redneck Jesus freak friends. And I will continue to stay in NC and pastor to ALL of God’s children.

  18. Nani 24 May 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Gay Pride is a wonderful thing. Change is good and they are wonderful people. They are not close minded they accept change and they are coming out and making a stand for that change. Love is universal, its holds no bars to race, sex or color. Stop living in the past, set up a legacy for our future generations to come. If you don’t like it then don’t look at it but don’t try to suppress it and teach your kids to hate it. It will only make them close minded and ignorant as the ones teaching it to them. Leaving no possibility’s for change and the world is always changing whether you like it or not. You don’t have to like it but you will have to deal with it one way or another. So Just ACCEPT IT!!!

  19. ChuckL 24 May 2012 at 11:34 AM

    If progressive people leave a state every time a vote goes badly, it just makes the Blue states bluer and the Red states redder (besides, NC outlasted 29 other states in passing this amendment. If we were the backwater those folks claim, why didn’t we already have such a thing, years ago?)

    Some people have stereotypical perceptions about the South that are no less offensive than stereotypes about racial minorities, women, Jews, or gays. Most of the top-line folks fighting against Amendment One were native North Carolinians–and one of the biggest voting blocs against it were Catholics, very few of whom are native NC’ians. There are good people and bad people in every state. If you want to run away every time something doesn’t go your way, you’ll be on the road a long time.

  20. Rdg 24 May 2012 at 3:03 PM

    Appreciate your support and you make your point well. But , you really should not try to shame someone for leaving. You are straight, you truly don t know what it felt like to have strangers and neighbors alike voting on your life.

  21. Pingback: Queer Talk: You Can’t Change Things By Leaving | FavStocks