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A frequent recurrence to fundamental principles

If I recall correctly, the impetus for electing the Republican majority to the North Carolina General Assembly back in 2010 was to end the corruption and pay to play politics that had disgraced the state’s Democratic party in the previous decade.

Back then it was minority leaders Skip Stam and Phil Berger leading the charge for good government and common sense policies to move our state forward. One Raleigh reporter even dubbed their weekly press conferences “The Skip and Phil Show” as the two fought each week to have their voices heard in a Democraticcontrolled legislature that all but ignored the opposition.

I was one of those voters who fought to end the 100-plus years of Democratic Party control of North Carolina’s legislature. Scandals attached to names like Easley, Black, Rand and Edwards (himself a U.S. Senator) made it easy to think that hubris had gotten the better of logic in the capitol building.

I believe in good government and sensible policy.

I also believe that policy should change to meet the needs as they exist, not remain rigid in adherence to one political philosophy or the other. It’s in that sense that I’m most disgusted with the leadership of the Republican majority in Raleigh.

Not disgusted in the sense that I will post a Facebook rant or an ironic meme that attempts to highlight the chasm between common  sense rhetoric and bat shit crazy legislation, but more disgusted in the sense that the only rationale I can glean from the absurdity coming out of Raleigh these days is to isolate our state in a vacuum of backwardness that pales only in comparison to the violence of ISIS.

As I listened to the audio of the house session on Tuesday, waiting for the clerk to call up H318 (which we wrote about on page 10), the honorables were droning on about regulating deer farming and looking for ways to curtail the state’s deer population. Just knowing that moments later these neo-fascists would most likely vote to kill a program that has helped 3,000 humans in Greensboro take one step closer to realizing some semblance of the American Dream was really heartbreaking.

I recalled two other debates I listened to with equal displeasure. The first was the move to put hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on the fast track to reality in North Carolina. The other was the debate this summer regarding state Sen. Trudy Wade’s plan to redistrict the Greensboro City Council. Both debates ended in heavy-handed procedural moves that stifled debate and limited participation in an effort to shove the bills through.

Now it’s a majority’s right to shove a bill through, but it also is the complete antithesis of the rationale with which Stam and Berger gained our sympathy in the first place. The philosophy of “majority rules” is one I have always opposed. But it’s one that North Carolina Republicans seem to cling to.

Seriously now, could you imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth from Republicans during the height of the Marc Basnight-Jim Black-Mike Easley era if a Democratic-controlled legislature attempted to force a pile of pig poo onto rural voters? Essentially, now that the tables have turned and coalitions of rural Republican legislators run Raleigh, that’s what the General Assembly is doing to our state’s urban centers.

It makes me almost long for the days when a teapot museum in Sparta and the Randy Parton Theatre boondoggle were the worst things we had to worry about in North Carolina.

The assault on voting rights and women’s healthcare and the independence of our state’s cities are major causes of concern for anyone who cares about freedom and liberty. It’s not enough to rant on Facebook and talk about moving to other states. We have nearly 10 million people living in this state now and growing numbers of them are jobless, live in poverty, or immigrated here from desperate conditions in foreign countries. I think it’s the first two that make the latter the frequent target of bigotry and ir- rational rhetoric. !

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