News-Record & Sentinel, May 20, 2020

I think most of us, at one time or another, have wished we could live without any restraints.   No red lights of any kind. 

But we know it’s’ a bad idea, don’t we?  That kind of super-selfishness is not who we are. Our lives are oriented around other people, especially our families.  We’re compassionate people. 

That’s what’s so amazing about Republicans in our General Assembly.  They campaigned in 2010 as giants of the faith – but then they won.  And they tasted political power.  Yum, yum.

James Madison (abridged) wrote:

“When the majority has schemes of oppression, popular government enables it to ignore both the public good and the rights of other citizens. If this impulse and the opportunity be allowed to coincide, we well know that neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control.”

Republicans’ first act as the new majority was to set legislative and congressional district boundaries, and they drew their gerrymanders.  Election outcomes would be predetermined for at least 10 years.  No more worries about pesky voters.

The world’s authority on elections wrote in the Raleigh News & Observer in 2016: “North Carolina is not only the worst state in the USA for unfair districting but the worst entity in the world ever analyzed by the Electoral Integrity Project.”

To be fair, rank-and-file Republican lawmakers didn’t come to Raleigh with “schemes of oppression,” looking for “opportunity,” ready to crush “the rights of other citizens.”

No, but their leader did.  And all Republicans went along.

That leader was a murky man named Thom Tillis, Speaker of the N.C. House, now a U.S. senator who is now asking us to reelect him.

With power, Tillis quickly showed his colors.  Speaking to the North Carolina Association of Educators: “The message from the Legislature is clear.  If you stand against cuts to public education, we will teach you a lesson.”

He regularly pulled tricks like in January 2012, when he called a special midnight session to override a veto and gave Democrats one hour’s notice.  When they protested, he smirked: “This should be a learning experience for you.”  He often mocked: “Didn’t you read the election results?”

Tillis isn’t surprising.  That all GOP lawmakers went along, that’s beyond surprising.

Hear Abraham Lincoln: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”