On agitators, outsiders and morons

Republican legislators have denigrated the Moral Mondays Movement by accusing the movement of being influenced by “outside agitators,” and the clever insult “Moron Mondays.”

The dictionary defines agitator: “one that agitates: one who stirs up public feeling on controversial issues.” Personally, I prefer Jim Hightower’s description. When Hightower was running for office in Texas, he responded to being called an agitator by embracing the label. “An agitator”, Hightower explained, “Is the thing in grandma’s washing machine that stirs the laundry to get the dirt out.”

An outsider is: “a person not belonging to a particular group, set, party, etc.” Of the 500 or so people arrested as of 6/17 in seven Moral Mondays at the General Assembly in Raleigh, (including this writer) a grand total of 2% purportedly reside outside North Carolina. (Thanks to the Civitas Institute for compiling the Honor Roll of Moral Monday arrestees at its website here: www.nccivitas.org/moralmonday/).

On the other hand, NC legislators who accuse Moral Monday protesters of being “outside agitators” are taking their own marching orders from the American Legislative Exchange Council based in Washington DC. ALEC’s playbook is to draft legislation designed to eviscerate local resistance to being plundered by corporate thieves.

According to the Democratic NC House leader Larry Hall, the ALEC inspired NC House and Senate majority agenda seeks to:

• Divert $50 million away from public schools and invests it into education vouchers for private and religious schools
• Eliminate raises for educators who have advanced degrees and no pay raises for teachers
• Eliminate teacher assistants in elementary schools
• Change the eligibility requirements of Pre-K classrooms and affects at-risk students from receiving a proper early childhood education
• Slash community college funding by nearly $25 million
• No expansion of Medicaid services provided to middle class families
• Completely defunds minority and community economic development initiatives with proven track records of job creation
• Places modest funds, $13 million over two years, into the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, as opposed to the $100 million investment in clean water that were previously made

Who are the morons?

Definition of moron: “a person who is notably stupid or lacking in good judgment.”

In a recent commencement address to the graduates of his alma mater in Denison, Texas, Jim Hightower addressed this issue to the students of his former high school: “Now that you’ve had a dozen years in the classroom and earned this important credential, DON’T BE AN IDIOT! I used “idiot” in the same way that ancient Greeks originally meant it. Idiots were not people with low-watt brains, but individuals who cared only about themselves, refusing to participate in public efforts to benefit the larger community – to serve the common good.

“The Greeks… considered such people selfish, contemptible and stupid ... and so should we.”

To play the devil’s advocate for a moment, how could it be argued that Governor McCrory, NC House leader Thom Tillis, NC Senate leader Phil Berger and their ring leader, NC Budget Director Art Pope, refuse to participate in public efforts to benefit the larger good, when they have spent so much effort and money to achieve the highest offices in our state government?

The answer is in the judicial challenge underway, to determine how the redistricting process after the 2010 census resulted in a majority vote for Democratic candidates and a Republican majority in the state house. One conclusion is found in Gov. McCrory’s signing the bill to rescind public financing of judicial candidates. The simple explanation is: “How can we buy judges if they’re not for sale?”

What makes this legislature and this governor think that their temporary electoral majority gives them the right to attack the poor and middle class in NC? And what makes them think that accelerating the concentration of wealth into the hands of a few will lead to prosperity for the people of NC? Whose “good judgment” would consign the rising generation to a permanent underclass?

Fortunately, we have a remedy for our moronic General Assembly. All 50 NC senators’ and 120 state representatives’ terms expire in 2014. Let’s show these ALEC drones and tea partiers the door next November and return a state government that works for all North Carolinians.

For further information on Moral Mondays, check out www.naacpnc.org.

John Heuer
Pittsboro, NC



Well Said

If there's anything good to come of this perversion of government in NC (and I'm not claiming there is), it's a lesson: it shows where Romney/Ryan would have taken the nation if they had (perish the thought) won.

"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis