Eric Fink

After tragedy then farce, what next?

Governor-elect Roy Cooper gives Senator Phil Berger a ride across Lake Raleigh

Governor-elect Roy Cooper gives Senator Phil Berger a ride across Lake Raleigh

Yesterday’s General Assembly clown show prompted yet another flurry of emails from out-of-state friends wanting to know “what the hell is going on down there?” No doubt soon-to-be-former Sen. Buck Newton would dismiss my friends and me as the “lunatic left from California and elsewhere.” The fact is, I’ve lived in Greensboro for nearly ten years, longer than I’ve ever lived anywhere else in my life. It’s where I’ve made a home with my family. It’s where we intend to stay. And we’re sick and tired of it being made a national laughingstock.

Since I freely embrace the “left” designation (lunatic or otherwise), it’s no surprise that I’ve viewed the Republicans in Raleigh as the culprits. But in this latest fiasco, I hold the Democrats liable as accessories before and after the fact.

When news first broke on Monday about a deal brokered by Governor-elect Roy Cooper, I tried to be hopeful. Rescinding Charlotte’s anti-discrimination ordinance was an unfortunate concession to anti-LGBT bigotry. But if would really lead to getting HB2 off the books, perhaps that could be a step forward on the road to liberty and justice for all. While I was skeptical that Phil Berger and Tim Moore would really hold up their end of the bargain, I trusted that Roy Cooper, who’s been in the game a long time, knew what he was doing.

Of course we didn’t get a repeal. Instead, we got an agonizingly long day of squabbling, maneuvering, posturing, and finger-pointing. Here’s a free Yiddish lesson for you: When the leader of the party with supermajority control drops a poison pill in legislation he’d promised to get passed, then blames the other party for refusing to swallow the pill, that’s what my people call Chutzpah.

In the end, voting against an illusory repeal was the right thing to do. So why do I fault the Democrats? Because they never should have gone along with this charade to begin with. After four years of Republican misrule, and on the heels of last week’s legislative coup, trusting Phil Berger and Tim Moore to deliver on any promise is simply careless.