A Brief Recess As We Admire the General Assembly's Demolition Work
Rebuilding an economy never hurt so bad
Let's stop and take stock of what's happening in Raleigh and ask ourselves a serious question: Is this North Carolina General Assembly the most radical legislative body in the nation?
Really, that'd be quite a feat considering the competition. But who else is there? Kansas? Arizona? (Once you get past a certain level of crazy, does a distinction like "most radical" even matter?) The complete Republican takeover of North Carolina state government — supermajorities in both legislative houses, Gov. McSquinty in the executive mansion — has launched a torrent of moronic bills, a collective outrage that's finally getting some national attention. At times, it's seemed like a bicameral game of "Hey, fellas, watch this!," in which lawmakers (my God, these people are in charge of making laws, and we freakin' put them there) dare each other to file bills that should come equipped with straitjackets just to see the looks on our faces:
Rick Henderson, managing editor of Carolina Journal (carolinajournal.com), a publication of the conservative-leaning John Locke Foundation, said it’s been difficult to keep up. Henderson said legislators, buoyed by support from a Republican governor, are following the mantra Lee Iacocca adopted at Chrysler:
“Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”
“I have heard someone describe the Senate … as trying to go through the legislative session like Sherman’s army through Georgia,” Henderson said. “What they’re trying to do is help us rebuild the state’s economy. They feel they have a very limited amount of time to make the kind of reforms they want to make and put them in place before they get picked apart.”
"Rebuild the state's economy." Yeah. Through measures such as:
- Making it harder for minorities to vote.
- Making people wait two years before they can divorce, even if the relationship is abusive to one or both parties.
- Raising the speed limit for school buses.
And on and on. The N&O's Rob Christensen wrote about the phenomenon recently, positing that the more sharp-fanged "red-hots" are beginning to calm down and walk back some of their nuttier notions. Even if that's true, this is likely more about appearance than substance, a byproduct of the aforementioned national press. The news that the legislature apparently won't close one or more UNC campuses doesn't mean it won't pressure universities with funding cuts and curriculum changes.
Heaven only knows what the long-term effects will sprout from this and, thanks to redistricting, future legislatures. Talented young professionals who once moved here from out of state are looking elsewhere. Talented young North Carolinians are leaving and, possibly, not coming back. I don't want to think about what this state is going to look like in 10 years, and no, I feel neither sun nor moonshine, though I can identify with the feeling of being hit from behind. (By Talibubba.)