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Ready for ‘daybreak’ in N.C.? Principles over politics
Tuesday, 04 July 2017 09:55
By LEE BALLARD
Special to the Daily Planet


The morning sun has not yet risen in Raleigh, but the brightening sky gives us cause for hope, even belief, that it’s daybreak in North Carolina.

The Great Darkness fell just before the 2010 election for the General Assembly, when Republicans corrupted our mailboxes with a million dollars’ worth of lying flyers. Their slime won. And we’ve had six years of GOP misrule.

A poll taken last May by right-wing Civitas showed 47 percent of likely voters prefer a generic Democratic candidate to 33 percent who prefer a generic Republican.

I have concerns about Democratic strategy, but it seems the voters are ready to reverse Republican malfeasance.

They seized power in 2010 as respectable people – no, as righteous people – but immediately they showed themselves to be gangland thugs.  When their first budget slashed funding for public education, the Speaker of the House told a gathering of teachers, “The message from the Legislature is clear–if you stand against cuts to public education, we will teach you a lesson.”  

Arrogance on top of greed and indifference.  And they were naturals at it, weren’t they?

When they drew boundaries for our 13 congressional districts, the guy in charge issued this criterion:  create districts likely to elect 10 Republicans, three Democrat.   When asked why he chose those numbers, he responded, “I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.” Maps drawn for General Assembly districts gave the same lopsided numbers to Republicans. 

So they have no fear of the electorate. Heck, all legislative and congressional elections in the state are decided in advance. Voters might as well take the day off.

But now the night is passing. Venus is shining bright in the east.

Courts slapped down their voter-ID law, almost mocking them – how they brazenly requested data on differences in racial voting behavior and then designed their bill to inconvenience minorities.  And courts have ordered redrawing of 28 legislative districts. 

They were sheltered from the voters but not from the courts.

The U.S. Supreme Court has taken up a Wisconsin case that closely parallels North Carolina.  It’s possible, if not likely, that the Justices will see outrageous gerrymandering as right and wrong, the massive and blatant nullification of citizens’ voting rights.  They could set standards that will put an end to extreme political gerrymandering.

That day – oh, that day – we will dance in the sunlight!

Congressional and legislative districts will be competitive.  Everybody’s vote will count.  Voters will decide elections, not the cheating map-makers.  Elected officials will be accountable.

And when that happens, the voters will remember.  Oh yes, they will remember Republican self-serving.  All the deadheads who went along with their leadership will face the people in a fair contest.

Signs, like the Civitas poll, are favorable.  And we see Democrats making moves.  Candidates are announcing in districts that are impossible now – districts that might have entirely different boundaries this time next year after districts are redrawn.

But I have concerns. I love the signs at rallies that say, “Public Schools Matter” and “No More Tax Cuts for the Rich” and others that focus on RESTORING THE GREATNESS OF North Carolina before the GOP era. 

That’s our message – more than the Bernie Sanders sky-pie or the past-tense issues.  LGBT don’t need to press for more.  And the guns issue has to wait for the American public to reach a conclusion, like they did on LGBT.  And extremes with “pro-choice” is not wise.

I don’t think most people in North Carolina believe that Democrats would govern differently from how Republicans have governed.  We ARE different, and we should make the differences very explicit.  Like this:

“If the people of North Carolina entrust us with their legislature, WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO BE OPEN IN OUR LEGISLATIVE PROCESSES, INCLUSIVE WITH REPUBLICANS, NEVER TAKING ACTIONS DESIGNED TO ENTRENCH US IN POWER.  WHEN WE REDISTRICT AFTER THE 2020 CENSUS, WE WILL CREATE DISTRICTS WHERE YOUR VOTE COUNTS.”

I think our candidates are will run precisely to take back North Carolina for principles of good and right, not politics. Let this be their message.

Lee Ballard, who lives in Mars Hill, writes a blog at mountainsnail.com.

 

 

 

 



 


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