Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Day the Boss Did Not Come To Town

Hi there! Welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, a blog of darkness on the edge of internet town. I'm Dave-El and tramps like us, baby we were born to move at a moderate rate of speed.

My wife Andrea informed she almost had a chance to secure tickets to see Bruce Springsteen in concert when he came to Greensboro on April 10th. Which would've been so cool. I'm not a stone cold died in the wool fan of the Boss but I respect the skills and talent he has and I've heard he puts on a hell of a show. 

However, through a series of unfortunate events, she did not get those tickets. Andrea, by the way, has tons of stories that come under the heading Tales Of Things That Almost But Did Not Quite Happen. Almost but not quite getting those tickets is one of those stories. But even if she has scored those tickets, we would've had to file this story under that heading. 

Because Bruce Springsteen did NOT come to Greensboro on April 10th.  And Bruce laid the reason for his cancellation on the steps of the North Carolina State Capitol. Not literally, mind you. I meant that metaphorically. 

What I do mean literally is that the NC Legislature and our governor are short sighted morons.  

A few weeks ago, Republicans called a special session of the state congress to vote on a piece of legislation known innocuously as House Bill 2. The vital, urgent matter that brought Republicans to Raleigh to call the legislature into session? 

Charlotte NC was apparently getting too big for its britches as the saying goes down here in the southern United States

Charlotte is the state's biggest city with aspirations of playing with some of the other big boys in metropolitan areas like Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia. So to make sure that everybody...and I do mean EVERYBODY....is welcome to Charlotte, the city passed an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against people for sexual orientation and gender identity. Among the provisions of this ordinance was the allowance for people to use the bathroom of the gender for which they identify. 

Well, the hard right nut cases in charge of the state government took a look at this and said, "Oh hell no you don't". So the Republican leadership of the state house called the state representatives back to the state capital in Raleigh even though they were out of session. A quickly cobbled together bill was created to do quite a number of different things.

1) It prohibits discrimination for several reasons but explicitly excludes sexual orientation and gender identity. It does prevent someone from being discriminated against due to their "biological sex".
2) It prohibits cities from establishing their own ordinances to provide protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. And this part is retroactive so screw you, Charlotte. 
3) You cannot choose to go to a bathroom of the gender for which you identify. 
4) In an issue totally unrelated to LGBT rights, HB2 also prohibits cities from passing ordinances from raising the minimum wage in within their own city limits. 

And lo, this bill became a law when Republican governor Pat McCrory signed HB2.  

I covered some of this ground in a previous post on March 24th. In the intervening weeks, the publicity surrounding this measure has grown and been exceedingly negative. Several corporations have voiced their objection to this law and that this outright discriminatory measure will have impact on future business with the state. PayPal which was prepared to make a multi-million dollar investment in the state which would've created 400 jobs retracted their plans to set up shop in North Carolina, specifically citing HB2.  

And now Bruce Springsteen decided not to perform in Greensboro for the same reason. 

HB2 is making North Carolina look fearful and ignorant. It's also a blatant power play by an unchecked Republican Party that fears its power may in fact be reined in this November. The reason for that fear? Donald Trump

The reasoning goes like this: Donald Trump gets the nomination but is so spectacularly unpopular that he gets his head handed to him in the general election in November. And if the Democratic candidate draws a lot of votes in the face of Trump's expected meltdown in November, there are a lot of ballots that are going to reflect that same lean towards the Democrats up and down all the candidates including state and national congress people. 

If the Republican convention actually stops Donald Trump from getting the nomination, whoever replaces Trump at the top of the ticket will be damaged goods and the end result could likely be the same. (If that replacement is Ted Cruz, it could be a lot worse as Cruz has a far narrower base of support than Trump does.)  

So Republicans are rushing to push hard right legislative agendas to energize their base supporters to get out the vote in November and maybe stem to tide of Republican losses resulting from Donald Trump's impact on the Presidential race. That's why you're seeing this flurry activity with Republican controlled state legislatures across the country. Besides North Carolina, similar efforts have been made to curtail LGBT rights in states such as Mississippi, Indiana, Virginia and Georgia. In the latter two cases, the governor vetoed the bills but Mississippi's bill became law and Indiana's is expected to go that way as well (if it hasn't by the time this posts).  

The primary weapon employed by the right in defense of their discriminatory efforts is fear. Ads in North Carolina that appeared AFTER HB2 was made into law remind voters that this law is what stands between your precious innocent daughter in a bathroom and a dangerous male pervert in a dress. Even though there is no evidence of this actually occurring in communities with ordinances that do allow people to use the bathroom of their gender identity. 

Of course we are speaking of the same Republican politicians who have passed restrictive voter ID laws to prevent voter fraud of which there is no evidence of it happening. 

As offensive as HB2 is for WHAT it does, almost as offensive is HOW it came to be, a quick backdoor effort by a certain part of the state legislature to exert its will over the people of this state. It is an abuse of power. And its power, political power, as to WHY this happened which should be also offensive to us all. Our so-called representatives looking to preserve their power at all costs. 

And now that cost includes the loss of Bruce Springsteen at the Greensboro Coliseum. Damn it, you sons of bitches in Raleigh, I hope you're happy now. There's no telling when or if the Boss will ever be back in town. 

Everyone, be good to one another.   

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