It has been said that the arc of the moral universe is long, but that it bends toward justice. I'm not convinced that's true, but for the sake of optimism, let's pretend it is ... and examine North Carolina's unique position on that never-ending arc.
By any honest measure, the moral foundation of our state is slipping south faster than shit through a goose. King Arthur III has extended his sovereign reign to control a puppet legislature, a hapless governor, and a corrupt court system ... with stunning effectiveness and discipline. Operating at light speed, their medieval agenda has made North Carolina a laughingstock throughout the nation and the world, undermining our economy, our public infrastructure, our schools, our environment, and the heart and soul of our middle class. These are the facts on the ground, made all the more daunting by illegal gerrymandering.
In the face of this perfect storm, BlueNC readers have had several occasions to offer ideas for action. One specific poll asked what Democratic members of the General Assembly should be doing. Only 38% said those members should work hard and do their best under difficult circumstances. Sixty-two percent, on the other hand, called for blowing shit up, walking out or doing something else. One of the "something else" comments was especially intriguing.
The legislative process doesn't allow much to the minority -- never has. So rather than sit like patsies in committee rooms and on the floor, I'd suggest the Democrats start meeting separately, in the public areas, in the auditorium, in committee rooms when they're not being used, and conduct their own hearings, consider their own bills, and prepare themselves to govern just as if they were a parliamentary-style shadow government.
I agree with this sentiment completely. What's more, I'd extend this strategy as a recommendation to progressive groups, lobbyists, advocates, and citizens in general. It is time to disengage. Democracy in North Carolina has been corrupted to the point of no return. By engaging with the system, we offer Republicans the veneer of legitimacy. By offering our ideas and arguments, we provide cover, the opportunity for them to say they've heard from both sides and made informed decisions.
King Arthur has bought and paid for the illusion of government. He is going to do what he wants. Ask any insider in state government and you will quickly discover that there is absolutely nothing to be gained from trying to talk with Republicans in Raleigh. Not one god damned thing. So stop even trying.
Instead, let's give them all the rope they want. Miles and miles of it. Let them run their free-market experiment all the way into oblivion. The proof of the pudding will be in the tasting, and until average North Carolina voters get a mouthful of crap custard, there is nothing to be done.
Get out of the way. Let Republicans wreak havoc. That is the most effective strategy for rebuilding our moral foundation. Yes people will be hurt in the meantime. But nothing you can do in terms of engagement in Raleigh will change that in the slightest. In fact, our engagement may even be making it worse by given Republicans the cover of legitimacy.
Disengage. Stop talking to them. Create a shadow system with direct connections to the people who matter most: the millions of average citizens all across our state.
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