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Common ground: Preserve the United States of America

Over the past several years, a familiar refrain from moderates on the left, right, and center has been "find common ground." Fed up with partisan division, these people have implored politicians to reach across the aisle and work together. Sadly, we've arrived at a new place in history only one specific issue needs our collective attention: the collapse of America's moral standing in the world.

I attended a political event yesterday with three NC House members

Some good friends here in Chapel Hill hosted an informational meeting yesterday, featuring Verla Insko, Graig Meyer, and Darren Jackson. Attendance was off the charts, people were eager to find a way to take action in the face of so much ugliness and overreach by Republicans in Raleigh. There was plenty of chit-chat about the national scene as well, but the focus was on North Carolina in general, and the NC House in particular.

I had two takeaways from the meetings. First, I was encouraged by the level of energy of people to take action. Second, I was deeply frustrated by the "strategy" that seems to be driving the Democratic Party. I was looking for bold, fresh thinking. What I heard was "give money, host fundraisers, make phone calls."

Just another page?

The past few weeks have been a roller coaster for me, going down, down, down with only the hint of "up" here in North Carolina. Cooper's win is huge, there's no debating how important it is. So is Josh Stein's victory. And then there's the NC Supreme Court. I expect Rs to go dirty and expand the court by two seats, one last insult from McCrory. In any case, the overall downward dive of politics is relentlessly discouraging.

More rope please

I have long believed it is mostly unproductive for progressives to be lobbying Republican policy makers. The effect of our efforts is generally marginal, and serves only to make the outrageous seem slightly less outrageous, giving Republicans the cover they need to say, "Hey, this is bipartisan blah blah." I've specifically argued for giving them more rope here in North Carolina, and now I am arguing for it at the federal level.

Does any Republican Senator have a conscience?

I expect nothing resembling a conscience from people like Thom Tillis and Richard Burr. Those two are old school greeders, driven by nothing but self interest. Bank Run Burr got his name for a reasons, and he's slightly worse than Tillis. But both are shameless partisan whores. Power and money are the only currencies they operate with. The common good is an irrelevant concept.

Coming back from the edge

I've been angrier this week than at any time in my life. Drifting between thoughts of suicide and going postal, I am overcome by rage at what Republicans are doing. Their political evil has me by the throat, and I see no sign of relief ahead.

Trump, the leader of Republicans today, may well be the shittiest person who has ever lived. And while there are lots of reasons to despise him, the two most important to me are these: He's a sexual predator and a shameless liar. He is King of the Deplorables.

The great unraveling

It would be a mistake to say we have "given" Republicans all the rope they want. Truth be told, they have taken it, pure and simple. In their reckless lust for power, they have crossed every boundary of decency and fairness. In pursuit of domination, they have thrown aside integrity, local control, and personal freedom. They have behaved like bulls in a china shop, stomping adversaries into oblivion, just because they could.

Falling water

Jane and I are on our spring camping trip, with plans to visit Falling Water tomorrow. Today we are stuck inside our cozy camper van with rain, rain, rain, and more rain. The bad weather has given me the time to get my thoughts straight about the upcoming presidential and gubernatorial races.

When worlds collide

On the right, there is a vision that denies freedoms based on otherness. If you're black, female, trans, or gay, too bad. If you don't like discrimination, we'll be happy to arrange some outright persecution. And by the way, that fetus you're carrying? It has more rights than you do, girl.

On the left, there's a vision that gladly extends freedom to include everyone. If you're black, female, trans, or gay, we welcome you. Equal rights. Equal pay. Equal protection under the law. It's that simple.

That's the choice we're facing as citizens of North Carolina. I hope we're wise enough to choose fairness.

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