By Chad Nance
“You tell me this town ain’t got no heart. Well, well, well, you can never tell.
The sunny side of the street is dark. Well, well, well, you can never tell.
Maybe that’s cause it’s midnight, in the dark of the moon besides.”
– Robert Hunter
It’s beautiful out today- the kind of Friday with the sun shining, the sky painted with smooth azure, and the breeze gentle and cool. Instead of taking advantage of these favorable conditions with a good book and a tumbler full of Herradura and OJ I find myself back at the office, strapped to the desk, and writing yet another abusive missive about the North Carolina General Assembly. What we were sold as a Republican majority of small government activists that crashed through the gates of the legislative building in Raleigh in 2010 as push back against big Federal programs has turned out to be a collection of unrepentant phonies. These people asked for it… time to go be a bad guy.
Then came HB 465- not just a big government invasion of personal privacy and freedoms, but a Big Brother intrusion into the most intimate aspects of the lives of North Carolina’s women. This most recent bit of outrage and ideological gibberish drove me indoors and strapped me to this damn computer for one more dance around the Maypole.
The front end of this horseshit legislation would require North Carolina women to wait three days after their initial medical consultation to undergo an abortion procedure. This is intended to add a level of shame and provide a couple of more hoops to jump through in an attempt to keep low income women from being able to get needed procedures. Of course, these are the same jackals that also had a hand in cutting off unemployment payments and social services for these very same low-income women. In order to win primaries, the Raleigh Republicans are passionate about helping babies in the womb… but once those kids are free and clear of mom it is open season on them.
The ugliest lie these hustlers are pushing is the idea that they care about the health of women (low income and others) above all else. If they actually cared about the health of North Carolina’s women, however, they’d have expanded Medicaid so that women could get proper medical care- including prenatal.
Even uglier is the Big Brother intrusion into the privacy of North Carolinians, with language in the bill that requires by law doctors who perform an abortion during the last two weeks to send ultrasounds, measurements and all other information to the state Department of Health and Human Services. They want to send the most private of medical records to a state agency that can barely manage itself as is. Real Conservatives like Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley are rubbing their bones raw in their coffins right now. Maybe they are the lucky ones. Those old boys didn’t have to watch just how far from true Conservative values the North Carolina Republicans have fallen.
Conservatism, like American liberalism, has noble roots that track back to sincerely good intentions and a measure of wisdom. Today’s North Carolina Republican Party has long ago left those values lying on the floor back home at the local Ruritan Club. These politicians have completely abandoned their small government/local control principles. From rewriting municipal and county district lines to their wealth redistribution schemes. Wanna really get your mind blown? Their redistribution scheme fits well into TV preacher Mike Huckabee’s contention that the “real” America is only in the South and only in small towns, rural areas, and the burbs. All of this foolishness is really a re-branding of the agenda of Pol Pot and his pals in the Khmer Rouge. Those homicidal despots declared all urban dwellers as “New People” and those who lived in the villages and the countryside as “Old People”. These “New People” were slaughtered and driven from the city’s to be forced labor for the “Old People” in the rural areas. The North Carolina legislature isn’t as openly brutal, but the mentality and philosophy is the same.
In spite of appearances (and weak Democratic Party messaging), the Republican Supermajority are not just a mutated collection of white trash dingbats on par with Lester Maddox or George Wallace. Like it or not, at least ‘ol Lester had something he believed in- a misguided ethos that he and those like him rode all the way under the gravestone. The slick hustlers in the North Carolina legislature have none of the nobility seen in true believers. These used car salesmen are open to the highest bidder and play culture war shell games only to gain position in their bi-annual primaries. Since they gerrymandered North Carolina out of being a functioning Democracy, the only action is in the primary, pilgrims.
These people are like human beings born without a skeleton and with skulls so soft that their bodies have become like jelly, giving them the general corporal consistency of those old Stretch Armstrong toys I had as a kid.
What really gets the blood boiling is just how nasty and arrogant these turds can be. In fact, it was the video of Rep. Tricia Cotham’s testimony on Thursday regarding her own difficult decision to end a pregnancy that got me off of the back porch and back into this torture rack two weeks before I planned to. The absolutely rude, petulant, and autocratic treatment of Rep. Cotham was disgusting. As she testified, the men behind her walked around, opened pop bottles, played on their tablets, and one dick even just turned his back to her and acted like it was all not happening. To their credit other women (including, to my surprise, Rep. Debra Conrad) did pay attention. One lawmaker I spoke with this morning told me that since Thom Tillis left to go to the big cash-in north in DC, decorum has disappeared from the House floor. In it’s place the people of North Carolina are left with a collection of belligerent, entitled frat boys who bully or dismiss anyone who isn’t in on their particular money making scheme.
The truth is that the Democrats are no help right now. Not only did their complacency and corruption lead us open the door for Phi Alpha GOP, they are still reeling from the head-scratching tenure of Randy Voller as state chairman. Democrats seem to mostly be hopeless dreamers and tired old leeches from the bad old days, who are shriveling and dying out since they lost their access to power and all of the cold, hard cash that comes with it.
North Carolina has never been operated totally on the up and up, but at least there was a time when the nonsense out of Raleigh did some seemed designed to pummel the human brain into a state of battered numb.
Is there any hope? Where do we go from here? I have a modest proposal for you, friends and neighbors. If you are a Democrat, switch your party affiliation to Independent now. Then, on primary day in 2016, you vote in that Republican primary. Those are the only votes that will matter in the next cycle anyway. Who will run the state of North Carolina will be decided in the GOP primaries whether you like it or not. The majority of Democratic primaries will just be a side-show. Get out there and vote for the moderate Republican that you can live with and dilute the shallow pool of right-wing extremist who vote. The Republican Party has blocked your ability to have any choice in the matter… so muddy their water and have some fun on election day. It’s better than doing what I do- vote and then go puke outside next to the car.
Maybe that is even more effort that these hogs deserve. I might not even do that myself. Perhaps the only way to survive this nightmare is to get back on the back porch, put on some Miles Davis, have a blast of tequila and ponder the fence post for a while. Beats most of the alternatives, and even those rotten swine in Raleigh haven’t found a way to set up camp in my backyard… not yet anyway.
“So he grows a little garden in the backyard by the fence
He’s consuming what he’s growing
nowadays in self defense
He get’s out there in the twilight zone
Sometimes when it just don’t make no sense…”
– David Bellamy