Monday, September 30, 2013

In North Carolina an Atrocity and Citizens Fighting Back

A recent Moral Monday drew 8,000 in Asheville, giving home of recovery.
I am not so much shocked as disgusted by these developments in my birth state of North Carolina.

A very wealthy (inherited) businessman named Art Pope has basically bought North Carolina and re-formed its government into one that fits his philosophy that everything is about business prosperity and the state has no responsible for its citizens. He owns discount stores (Variety Wholesalers) in 13 states and pays Walmart-type wages. He has spent $40 million on the infrastructure of his political organization, which got Republicans elected to a majority of the General Assembly seats with a minority of the state's votes (gerrymandering at its best and most illegal) and elected a governor to rubber-stamp everything the legislators do.

North Carolina at this moment is a capitalist nightmare ("government bad/business good"), a right-wing wet dream that has jammed social legislation down the throats of the state's citizens after promising to concentrate only on jobs. Bills have been introduced to outlaw certain religious practices, vastly broaden guy-carry laws, foul the environment in favor of bad business practices, to prohibit large blocks of Democrats from voting, to slash unemployment insurance while dramatically cutting the tax rates for the wealthy.

North Carolina's voters--like many more oppressed and passive groups around the world in the past--have gone along with this outrage for quite a while now, but at the end of April something happened. The NACCP organized a series of Moral Monday meetings in the capital (the GOP reps smirked and made bad taste comments) and those grew across the state. One in Asheville (my hometown) drew 6,000 people and the governor's ratings plummeted from more than 60 percent to the mid 30s. General Assembly seats--in what were thought to be safe districts because of the gerrymandering--are now being contested. The people are speaking.

What will happen next is uncertain, but North Carolina has been one of the more forward-looking states since I can remember (former Gov. Terry Sanford is a character in my novel CLOG! and he's not there for being a dumb-ass redneck).

What we're seeing in North Carolina is the GOP at its power-grabbing, vote-suppressing, religious fanatic, poor and middle-class bashing worst. This is the model the party has for the country and it simply won't do. We in Virginia must be vigilant because the guy running for the governorship would enthusiastically approve of this form of government (although he's killing himself right now to look "moderate," a term he doesn't even understand). Out legislators have moved far to the right and people like Ralph Smith of Botetourt County not only don't have the brain capacity to be representing anything beyond their neighborhood, but they cause enormous damage.

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