Yesterday in my beloved home state of North Carolina our Governor, Roy Cooper, signed a compromise bill into law that would remove the discriminatory law, HB2, off the books. In exchange, the Republican super majorities in the State House and Senate added provisions prohibiting local non-discrimination ordnances until December 1, 2020. While Governor Cooper wanted a “clean” repeal without any strings attached, he had to deal with the reality of the current political landscape and take what small step he could get.
Unfortunately, many of my friends and allies on the left have considered this move a betrayal and have gone as far as calling for the ouster of any Democrat who voted for the compromise. I’d like to speak to my friends directly (If you have little children, now is the time to cover their ears). Are you out of your fucking mind? Do you have no concept of reality? Let me break this down for you because your arguments are so irrational and absent from reality you are starting to sound like Republicans.
1) Have you looked at the makeup of the NC State House and Senate. Republicans hold SUPER majorities in both houses. Combined with the most gerrymandered districts in the nation the General Assembly is essentially a cesspool of bigoted conservative idealism. Don’t forget, this is essentially the same body that passed HB2 in the first place. Our new governor was able to broker a deal that removed this law from the same right-wing super majority who enacted the law. Let that sink in for a second.
2) “…but Governor Cooper said he’d sign a clean repeal.” You are correct…and he would have and still will IF HE COULD GET A CLEAN REPEAL. Do not forget, he’s dealing with kamikaze politicians who legislate from their ignorant and bigoted ideologies, not from any sense of fact based reality. The Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly are not going to change; they are the last vestiges of a backward mindset that those of us from this millennium are trying to rid from our state. The only way to change the General Assembly is to remove them from office. Think about it this way, the governor who signed HB2 into law lost the last election, but the majority of the legislature who enacted the law got reelected. Why is this? Simple, the Governor’s race is a statewide contest not hindered by gerrymandered districts while the General Assembly is an absolute product of gerrymandering.
3) Thank you for your energy and passion. We must absolutely do everything we can to enact legislation at the STATE level that protects EVERYONE. Equality for all is the only moral path forward. However, to accomplish this, we must do what is almost impossible, defeat Republicans in heavily gerrymandered districts. This task is daunting, but it is the only one based in reality. Why in the world would you think that removing elected Democrats from office would help in the fight for equality. Are you delusional? Do you truly think that MORE Republicans in office and adding back a Republican governor is going to improve LGBTQ rights? That’s exactly what will happen if you try to primary Democrats with unelectable, ideological pure candidates who can’t win a general election. Just stop that nonsense right now! Grow up, wake up, and realize that our energy should be focused on defeating Republicans! It will be hard enough as it is with the way the districts are laid out, we don’t need irrational thought to take over and inflict more pain on our state. DO NOT let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Repeat that to yourself, then repeat it again and share it with your misguided friends who have taken a break from reality.
4) Governing is hard and imperfect. Justice is rarely a fast process. Both take large amounts of effort, and yes at times, a pragmatic approach. However, pragmatism is not an evil word, it’s a useful tool in a democratic republic. Although it sometimes seems we are coming closer and closer to a totalitarian fascist state with our reality television president, we must keep fighting for our democracy. That fight, that effort, that sacrifice, must be channeled constructively; we must fight SMART! Let your idealism drive your passion, but do not let it blind you to reality. There is a reason that the arc of the moral universe is LONG…it’s hard work and requires an enormous amount of effort. I’m asking you to stop your bullshit arguments and help us bend the arc more swiftly. Stop fighting against progress because you didn’t get 100%, all the time, every time. Governor Cooper clearly stated this compromise was “a step” in the right direction, he didn’t proclaim that our work was done.
Most importantly, Remember Who the Real Enemy Is! The real enemies are the morally bankrupt Republicans in the General Assembly. Ignorance and bigotry peddled by the Republican Party, at both a national and local level, are our opponents. Don’t be distracted by the shiny objects Republicans throw our way that try to divide us and slow down progress. Fight smart, fight hard, and whatever you do, stop any asinine feeling of political cannibalism that is creeping inside. Save your vengeance for those who peddle bigoted ideas and deserve your wrath at the ballot box.