The Greensboro News and Record’s Travis Fain is a respected journalist here in North Carolina who covers state and national government issues, and he wrote a great piece a couple of days ago questioning the heightened level of hyperbole and rhetoric that has been used by state Democrats and affiliated liberal special interest groups over the past couple of years:
Something I’d like to revisit from last night’s General Assembly protests, which apparently produced even more arrests than the initial estimate. The tally seems to be about 150, though I don’t yet have official confirmation.
Something N.C. NAACP President William Barber, who is a pastor, told protestors during an in-church meeting before they headed to the legislature caught my attention:
(Barber) told protesters Monday that Republicans are out to “crucify voting rights,” partly through a bill to require photo I.D. at the polls.
“But every crucifixion is followed by a resurrection,” he said.
It was a fiery political sermon that often brought the crowd to its feet in applause. Barber also said Republican legislators are crucifying Medicaid, unemployment and people’s hope.
Obviously it’s a metaphor. And quite the metaphor to use standing at the front of a Baptist Church.
It’s not for me to say whether GOP policies are good or bad, but I can definitely tell you they don’t rise to the level of crucifixion. And while this is a top-of-the-batch example, it’s not far afield from the rhetoric I’ve heard repeatedly from the NAACP and some top Democrats the last couple of years, as they worked to turn public sentiment against the Republican Party.
UPDATE 2: One more example and I’ll leave this issue alone for the day. The following is the first sentence of a resolution the N.C. Democratic Party’s executive council approved Sunday, in support of the “Moral Monday” protests:
WHEREAS, our great state of North Carolina is being dragged back into the 19th Century by Republican legislators passing regressive legislation signed into law by Republican Governor Pat McCrory …
I’ve been saying this about NC Democrats for the last 2 years myself, and I’m glad to see a local mainstream media journalist who is right in the middle of things take note of what he’s seen at the state capital and not be afraid to write about it. If only more journalists who cover the politics in Raleigh would do the same. He lives it, he works it – it’s his job to observe politicos, listen to what they say, question them, and write about it, and he’s seen enough to inquire as to the level of hyperbole being used – and to wonder whether or not it will be effective in state elections here in 2014 as the Democrats seek to regain power in the state legislature.
And that’s at the crux of what we’re seeing right now in Raleigh at the NC General Assembly with the weekly “Moral Monday” protests being more or less organized by our state’s version of Rev. Al Sharpton (minus the Tawana Brawley rape hoax and the deadly Freddie’s Fashion Mart riot incitement). The sharp words and inflammatory rhetoric from both major parties has always been present in this state, but it started escalating with Democrats to an unusually high degree after the 2010 elections, which saw the state legislature fall into GOP hands for the first time in well over a century. Two years later, the state GOP solidified their 2010 gains with a veto-proof majority … and this state elected a Republican Governor (former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory) for only the fourth time since 1901. In other words, Democrats have largely been in the driver’s seat here for decades, enjoyed that power, reveled in it, pretty much did whatever the heck they wanted without much impediment from the GOP. They don’t have that luxury anymore … and they absolutely hate it.
They want it back, of course. Desperately.
As a result, it’s open season – no holds barred – against the conservative political opposition, to the point of trying to completely stop the state’s business from being conducted by literally obstructing the general assembly – who, I should note were elected and voted in by a majority of people in their districts – from being able to debate and vote on proposed legislation. Furthermore, what better way to fire up the masses here than to ominously warn of going back to the days of slavery and a time where women enjoyed few rights, and even beyond that – the crucifixion? Let’s call this for what it is: straight up baseless fear-mongering, a dangerous throwback type of sheer opportunistic demagoguery that should NOT be tolerated by any level-headed person in this state who wants to see it grow and prosper. Interestingly enough, when we’ve had controversial Republican figures in the US House and Senate (the late Senator Helms comes to mind) or candidates for said offices, anything they said that was considered out of line or offensive (take your pick) was called out immediately on state and national levels, and the condemnations from both the left and right would flood in. Yet here we have a state Democrat party that crafted a resolution declaring that the goal of state Republicans is to take us back to the 19th century (read: to slavery and female oppression), and we have the influential leader of the state NAACP sermonizing about how the state GOP wants to “crucify” black citizens – but yet no outrage from the usual corners on heated rhetoric and the need for a New Tone? Things that make you go “hmmm….”
Having said that, let me clarify that I think it’s ok to be controversial and/or provocative – as long as what you’re saying is true and as long as it’s for the long-term betterment of those around you. The ideal way to get your point across in an effective manner is by couching it in a way that can appeal to all sides. But I do realize there are times when feathers have to be ruffled. But be tactful about it. The opposite of that is merit-less opportunistic flame-throwing by way of purely emotion-based arguments, which only serves the flamethrowers themselves as they strive to climb the power ladder, and NOT the people. Think about it.
Oh, and by the way, state Democrats: Y’all do realize that it was your party that enslaved and violently suppressed black people “back in the day” aka the 19th (and 20th, come to think of it) century, right? So if the GOP indeed happened to be engaged in taking us “back to the 19th century” (which they are not) it would mean taking us back to a time of Democrat rule where black people had much to be fearful about from racist state Democrats. Y’all really don’t want to take a walk down that particular Memory Lane, do you, NCDP? Didn’t think so.
I was born and raised in this beautiful state, and with few exceptions (mostly at the national level – Congressional races), NC Republicans and NC Democrats, and not just those holding public office, have generally gotten along in spite of our differences. Modern history shows us that we are a proud, spirited people no matter which political banner we’re flying. We have more in common than not. We love the countryside here, the mountains, the beaches, our cities and towns, or institutions of higher learning – and, of course, the food and, ahem, “beverages.” In fact, when it comes right down to it, most here would give the shirts off their backs to people who needed them, regardless of their political stripes. But over the last few years, a disturbing strain of militant far leftism has emerged which I fear is ripping at the very fabric of all that is good and decent about North Carolina – chiefly, our ability to work together for a better tomorrow and break bread at the end of the day, regardless of our disagreements.
Let’s debate and discuss the issues, yes, and passionately so for this state we all love – but, please leave the “look at me! I’m getting arrested!” self-serving narcissism and nasty stuff to Chicago and DC, thank you very much.
(Also posted at The Tarheel Report)