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Meet Omar Ali

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Tomorrow the nation will go out to the polls and pick its president. Whatever the outcome, you can bet the winner will be either a Republican or a Democrat. But why is that? How did a Democratic nation where the people pick their leaders, whoever they may be, become a choice between two parties? Omar Ali, an associate professor of African American studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a founding member of North Carolina Independents, says it doesn’t have to be this way. The two-party system took hold of American politics early in the nation’s history, but the country is slowly waking up to a different way of doing things. Host Frank Stasio talks to Omar Ali about his life and work.

Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.