No Labels goes to college

A special conversation on bipartisanship with National Co-chair Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. and Gov. Pat McCrory, moderated by Adm. Dennis Blair.

No Labels goes to college

“I’m a Black Democrat, he’s a white Republican… but we’re working together at No Labels,” said civil rights leader and No Labels National Co-chair Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

“Why? Our democracy is at stake. There’s too much division, there’s not enough working together across partisan lines.”

Dr. Chavis spoke with former Republican Governor of North Carolina Pat McCrory about the need for bipartisanship to an audience at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill Wednesday night.

Gov. McCrory likened his mission to sports: “I'm with No Labels because I started seeing in politics – the jersey color we're wearing, the party we belong to – is why we can't talk to the other side… It's like Duke and Carolina: you shouldn't talk to anyone who goes to Duke.”

On Working Together

Gov. McCrory pointed out that the U.S. Constitution was built on compromises, without which “we probably wouldn’t have the United States of America.”

The governor also expressed the need for change, saying, “I’m not sure the system we have now is encouraging those types of compromises to form an imperfect union. If you’re looking for perfection, you’re not going to get there. We’ll always be somewhat imperfect. You just want to make it more perfect and progress.”

Dr. Chavis emphasized the importance of conversation even with people we disagree with. Quoting what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told him, Dr. Chavis said, “Details are important. Because it’s in the details that you find where we are alike, not where we are different.” He continued, “I think the problem today is we look for the headlines and think the headlines are the total script.”

Dr. Chavis later reiterated, “There is no room in my consciousness for extremism or violence or hate… We're never going to find what the middle is if we don't talk to each other.”


Admiral Dennis Blair, former director of national intelligence and moderator of the event, described the conversation as “a respectful, reasoned discourse between two very patriotic Americans who believe there are parts of this country that are going in the wrong direction” who understand that “they should work together, they should listen to each other carefully and figure out what the best thing is for the country.”

Afterwards, a student told No Labels that he and his classmates agreed the event was “invaluable” to their Philosophy, Politics, and Economics program. He appreciated the lessons on compromise and said, “As – hopefully – a future policymaker or policy-changer, that’s something I want to carry with me throughout my career."