Daily Planet, 9/2014

November 2, 2010– the day the voters of North Carolina turned the town over to outlaws.

Of course nobody knew they were outlaws on Election Day. We didn’t find that out until they took power.

And then we knew. Oh, did we. The outlaws tossed aside their cloaks, and their eyes took on a tell-tale greedy glint.

Very soon after they gained power, the outlaws made certain that they wouldn’t lose power. They didn’t ban elections. They drew boundaries of legislative districts so that a majority of Republicans would win easily. So in most of the state’s districts, the outcome of the election would never be in doubt. Voters would feel they did their democratic duty by voting, but their votes would be meaningless.

Then they went to work on the election process itself. Outlaws tend to scoff at elections. For decades, Democrats had made voting more accessible, so more citizens could vote.   Republicans reversed all that and added more obstacles to voting by seniors and minorities (who vote Democratic).

Interesting how a person reveals his character when he gets power. Republicans showed greed and arrogance.

For decades the minority Republicans – not yet outlaws – had begged Democrats for more power-sharing in state government. But when they got power themselves, sharing wasn’t on their minds.

They came with far-reaching legislation that changed the lives of all North Carolinians, from schools to tax structure, and they did it with no proper debate or deliberation. Laws whooshed through the General Assembly, often with inadequate time for reading, sometimes in the middle of the night.

They were advised, over and over, “You can’t do that. It’s unconstitutional.” To which they replied, “Didn’t you see the results of the election?”  Verbatim Tom Tillis quote. (Interpreted into Outlaw language: “Constitution? We don’t care ‘bout no stinkin’ Constitution.”)

In fact, they couldn’t do that, not lf they wanted to live by the state Constitution. But that’s the way of an outlaw, isn’t it? They work outside the law.

Is this constitutional ignorance? At the takeover in 2011, it’s true that none of the Republicans had experience in leading government.

No, I think this is just a deeper level of arrogance. Anybody or anything that gets in their way, including the state Constitution, they ignore as “obstructionist.”

Then last month, their arrogance reached unprecedented heights and depths. As the Raleigh News&Observer reported: “After passing laws imposing new conditions on abortions and elections, taking away teacher tenure and providing vouchers for private school tuition, Republican state legislators have seen those policies stymied in state and federal courtrooms.

“So they have passed another law, this one making those kinds of lawsuits less likely to succeed when filed in state court. Beginning in September, all constitutional challenges to laws will be heard by three-judge trial court panels appointed by the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.” (Note: the chief justice is a very partisan Republican.)

As a townsperson, I don’t want outlaws running my town. I don’t like rich guys getting richer at my expense. I want my vote to count. I want the best education for my neighbors’ kids. I want good people running my town again.

Vote, people! Vote! Whatever else you do this November, VOTE!