Tuesday, July 26, 2016

North Carolina Is Not an All Star

Earlier this year, the legislature of North Carolina (the state where I reside in my Fortress of Ineptitude) passed a law known as House Bill 2 which among other things gutted legal protections for the LGBT community. At the center of this bill was a provision prohibiting using a bathroom for a gender other than the one you were biologically born with. This so-called "bathroom bill" has so far brought a lot of negative publicity to North Carolina and resulted in millions of dollars moving away from the state.  Entertainers have cancelled concerts, businesses have stopped plans to build or expand in the state.  

The latest blow to North Carolina's economic health came last week from the NBA who announced that the 2017 All Star Game that was going to be played in Charlotte NC would be withdrawn from that city and played elsewhere. The cost to the state economy? $100 million! 

The NBA's withdrawal of this game is only the latest negative consequence that the state has suffered as a result of HB2. Meanwhile, more than 200 major CEOs and business leaders signed an open letter calling for full repeal of HB2, including many of North Carolina’s largest employers.

The letter said in part, "Discrimination is wrong, and we believe it has no place in North Carolina or anywhere in our country. As  companies that pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to all, we strongly urge you and the  leadership of North Carolina’s legislature to repeal this law in the upcoming legislative session."

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewsi called HB2 an embarrassment to the state.  HB2 has already interfered with Duke's basketball schedule with certain schools unable to play games in North Carolina as a result of boycotts and travel bans in protest of HB2.  

HB2 was a poorly thought out solution to a problem that did not exist. It is a political tool that exists to energize the ultra conservative base of the Republican party.  Take a look at the response from North Carolina governor Pat McCrory who signed HB2 and continues to stand beside the bill.   

“The sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media have for months misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina."   

McCrory is running for re-election against Cooper for governor. And note the use of "elite" (people who think they are better than you) and "liberal media" (any media that doesn't fall in line with conservative views). HB2 is a great tool for getting the base all worked up to come out and vote in November. "All that stands between your little girl in a bathroom with a pervert is Pat McCrory" is the message here, loud and clear.  

McCrory goes on to say that "American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process.”

I am intrigued by this statement (and there's that code word again, "elite"). These corporations are imposing their economic will which they have every right to do. If someone doesn't want to do business in North Carolina because of your silly law, governor, then they don't have to. And if you feel strongly enough in the rightness of your cause, then you need to suck it up and accept there's a price to pay for your support of that law.  

The thing is that Gov. McCrory and others like him make this about bathrooms and that's not what's at stake here. North Carolina has enacted a law that is designed to discriminate against a specific set of citizens. And anytime government intervenes to do that, that needs to be called into question. The governor of Georgia, when confronted with the same kind of bill in his state, vetoed it. Yeah, there were threats of economic harm to the state but he also noted he could not be part of restricting the rights of a certain group of citizens. As an American and as a Christian, it did not seem to be the right thing to do.  

But Gov. McCrory has stubbornly stuck by HB2 even as the costs keep mounting, not just in dollars but in reputation. North Carolina is seen as a state that legally condones discrimination. There is no effective way to enforce HB2 unless someone is stationed at every public restroom for a quick crotch grope. It is the fact of HB2's very existence that is anathema to people who believe this country is for all citizens and not just the people who are like us. 

Thanks for reading. I'll be back with another post tomorrow. Until then, remember to be good to one another. 

Watching Television: Super P.I.s, Zombie Realtors & More

Hey, I'm still working to keep my New Year's resolution to watch MORE television. How is that going? _________________________...