Still Waiting in North Carolina

Most readers here probably already know how the North Carolina Republican-controlled legislature and Republican governor recently passed a law to incentivize their electorate to kick, beat, and spit on transgender people, and thus presumably win themselves the votes of these fired-up mobs. While the bill also included a number of measures encouraging discrimination of all kinds throughout the state, it reserved special animus for perhaps the most forsaken of all God’s children here in North Carolina. It now has become a crime for a transgender person to use an airport or other government bathroom designated for the sex they dress as and that as most people perceive them.

A lot of reaction… Paypal and DeutscheBank have canceled large job expansions. Bruce Springsteen a concert. Already thousands of convention hotel room bookings up in smoke.¬†The Republicans, when not somehow blaming the Democrats, will say they don’t care if the losses to the state go into the trillions because they’ve upheld Family Values.

The Asheville City Council has formally requested that the law be repealed. The Chamber of Commerce has stated in no uncertain terms that it will not abide discrimination against any group. Waiting now for late April, on the NBA meeting to confirm or revoke Charlotte’s hosting of the 2017 All-Star game, and on the legislature’s return.

It’s so strange to me that the Republican Party and its voters have become a huge cult, with values so foreign to almost everything that I learned as a child. Its beliefs are rigid, closed and faith-based. It has developed a small, quasi-godlike pantheon headed by Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, with uncomfortable parallels to Marx, Lenin, and Chairman Mao of that other huge cult. And in its current election¬† it has defined demagoguery upward to allow almost comment under the sun. No wonder, with Republican voters whooping it up this election season over carpet bombing and waterboarding that its North Carolina political leaders think they can make hay bullying sexually conflicted individuals.

On the other hand, we Americans can look next door at Canada, where 70% of voters totally rejected a much milder version of Republicanism a few months ago. We can look at millions of our own young people, not knowing if Bernie Sanders has answers, but knowing assuredly that neither Hillary nor the Republicans do.

It appears something is waiting to be born in our country, maybe immediately, maybe not at all, maybe never here in North Carolina with its terribly gerrymandered political map. So come see us behind enemy lines, here in liberal Asheville, and see Southern contradictions at their fullest.


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