North Carolina’s Downward Spiral
I love my home state of North Carolina. I do! Just ask anyone who went to graduate school with me. I would stand against any statements of being “less educated” or “more racist”. I was not going to let anyone tell me my state was less than.
But then the midterm elections in 2010 happened… For the first time in over a century, the NC General Assembly and the Governor’s mansion are solidly Republican, earning a super-majority in the legislature after the Tea Party wave of 2010 and 2012.
Issues such as reproductive rights, unemployment, Medicaid expansion, LGBT rights, ADAP (AIDS Assistance Drug Program) funding, voting rights and “restarting” the Death Penalty are all on the agenda.
Since April 29th of this year, citizens of the great state of North Carolina have been engaging in an ongoing event called “Moral Mondays.” Coordinated and led by the NC-NAACP, Moral Mondays represent the true essence of the Tarheel State—a state and a citizenry who is not afraid of standing up to oppression. It was only 53 years ago that Greensboro, one of the largest cities in NC, experienced this civic action first hand when four African American students from NC A&T staged a sit-in protest at a Woolworth’s segregated lunch counter.
From the purest form of Democracy, Moral Mondays are a grassroots effort of many organizations that are opposed to the extreme agenda being pushed by the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA). In acts of civil disobedience, citizens from all over North Carolina travel to the General Assembly to stage their own type of sit-in: entering the General Assembly and then refusing to leave. Upon refusal, the police officers use plastic zip-ties to cuff the individuals, shuffle them through the halls of the Legislature, load them into a giant beige school bus, and take them off to get booked. Religious officials are on the forefront of this movement. They espouse the virtues of holy texts, preaching the “imperatives to protect the poor, respect the stranger, care for widows and children and love our neighbors (Isaiah 10:1‐2, Hebrews 13:2, James 1:27, Matthew 22:39, Galatians 5:14).”
I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re thinking, “So what is changing? What impact are you having?” And to that, I simply point to what the legislature did LATE last night, amend a completely unrelated bill to include every piece of anti-choice legislation that the state was considering. Roughly 200 of us gathered this morning for an emergency protest of the NCGA because of this ridiculous tactic to pass a bill no one even wanted to hear.
Where does that leave the proud citizens of North Carolina? Well, one might think that we are without hope. But that is not what I see at these protests.
I see energy.
I see change.
I see what can be…
But I also see the road ahead is long. And we must fight for one another in these rancid battles.