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North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory and the state’s republican led legislature had a very different way to address the police shootings of unarmed African-American men happening in our state and around the country. The most recent shooting took place in Charlotte just a few days ago. There are conflicting accounts of what happened but here are the basics. Keith Lamont Scott was sitting in his car waiting for his son to get out of school. A Charlotte police officer arrived on the scene to serve a warrant to another man who had no connection to Keith Scott at all. At some point Keith exits his car and a few seconds later the officer shot and killed Keith as his family and neighbors looked on in horror. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered but our governor Pat McCrory and the republican led legislature passed a bill last month that will further inflame the already tense relationship between African Americans and police. And the really sad part about the bill is there was no need for it at all. McCrory is up for reelection and his race became a lot tighter than he expected. To help turn out the republican base he crafted a number of bills just to get his supporters to turn out and vote for him in November.
A month ago they announced, passed, and signed into law a bill that prohibits the release of police body cam and dash cam video to the public. In order to see any of the video from police dash or body cams it has to first be approved by the governor or adjudicated by a judge. The bill was written to give the governor total discretion over this and there’s no way for a citizen or a journalist to demand a viewing or release of this footage. So Governor McCrory is perfectly fine with police brutality against African-Americans and police killing unarmed African-Americans, he just wants to keep it private. That’s his answer to this problem. That bill is a huge middle finger to the entire African American community and the governor along with his fellow republicans in the state legislature couldn’t care less.
To me it seems as if these guys pine for the days of Jim Crow and have passed a lot of legislation that gives credence to this theory. They want African Americans to suffer in silence while our rights are being trampled over daily. This new law also allows white people to ignore these horrible situations of police brutality, unjust murder, and misconduct perpetrated against African Americans. All they see is the angry protest and violence that follows. Without proper context and video evidence of the incident they may look at the community’s reaction and see it as unreasonable. Of course that was the intention McCrory and NC republican legislators had in mind when they drafted the bill. We’re supposed to ignore the violence and dehumanization when it’s coming from police, but everyone gets to pay attention to the protest that follows not even acknowledging that it was a response to an unjust shooting and one more life of an African American needlessly taken. Governor McCrory has shown us his character (or lack thereof) throughout his term as governor. He has shown the African American community what he really thinks of us through the bills he signs, the actions he takes, and the constituents he chooses to listen to. He let the extreme right-wing of the state’s legislature turn him into a callous unsympathetic alt-right cliche. I’m not sure why they even bother wasting money on body cams in my state when the public can’t even view the footage. The body cams weren’t going to end these wrongful deaths but they were supposed to bring a sense of accountability so the community could start to build trust with law enforcement.
So I ask myself What is our governor doing with these videos? Maybe McCrory and his fellow republican lawmakers collect these videos to show them when they have movie night at the governor’s mansion… eating popcorn and laughing at African Americans getting stopped by police for no reason, getting stripped searched on the side of a highway as cars slow down to witness the indignity, watching a man get chocked to death by police on a sidewalk while pleading for his life telling them over and over that he can not breath. Watching an 8 year old African American child playing alone in a park get shot by police before he could even see what was coming. Watching an unarmed African American teenager walking away from police then getting shot in the back. Then that same officer walks over to the teen’s lifeless body and decides to unload the rest of his clip into the already dead teen as the young man’s body heaved and convulsed after each shot hit him. Or maybe they are watching the one of the 13 year old African American girl who got thrown to the ground and manhandled like a rag doll before the officer puts his knee and his full weight into her back while pushing her face into the dirt while she screamed and begged for her mother, all for the crime of attending a pool party in an all white neighborhood thrown by a classmate. I bet Governor McCrory and those far right extremist he tries so hard to impress would get a huge laugh at all of that kind of stuff. Putting those new body cameras to good use.
North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory and the republican legislature are not interested in winning your vote.
The republican majority in North Carolina’s legislature gained a huge victory this week when the US Supreme Court stayed the Fourth Circuit court order reinstating two voter restrictions that will effect the coming election in November. The first gets rid of same day voter registration, and second gets rid of a rule that will count an eligible voters vote even if they cast that vote at the wrong precinct. Both of these decisions can be overturned before the presidential election in 2016 but they will be in effect for the coming election in November (2014).
In 2008 Barack Obama won the state of North Carolina and that victory helped him win the white house. The success of North Carolina’s Obama for president coalition in 2008 caught the state’s republicans off guard. Obama’s coalition was something southern politics had never seen before and something no one thought was possible. That coalition included black people, white people, Latino’s, college kids, independents, first time voters, women from 18 to 80, just a huge array from all different backgrounds working together for a common cause, and working hard to elect a president they believed in. This coalition shouldn’t have caught republicans off guard if they were paying attention to NC’s changing demographics. For every presidential election that preceded 2008, republicans won by tailoring their campaigns to address the issues of one demographic; white men. Convincing the state’s white men to vote for them was all they needed to win. So all of the issues that were important to every other demographic were ignored. Especially issues of concern to minorities and women. Marginalizing those two groups left the door wide open for a candidate with a message of hope and change. President Obama spoke to their concerns and made them feel like their issues were important to him. It was just that simple. Listen to the people, address their concerns, and show them a way government can help equalize opportunity so more than one demographic group can succeed. The election happened and of course Barack Obama won. After the election North Carolina’s GOP was floored at the results. Even though they won the white male demographic by a landslide, they still lost.
Following 2008 NC’s GOP had two choices if they were going to remain competitive in future elections. They could listen and address the concerns of minority and women voters, or they could use their legislative majority to gerrymander districts, tweak and change voting rules, and add new restrictions on registering new voters. Their choice tells us something very important about who they are and what they believe. They love freedom, they proudly support each American’s right to vote, and they are huge fans of democracy… until freedom, voting, and democracy doesn’t work in their favor. Since none of that worked in their favor, North Carolina’s republican led legislature began passing unprecedented sweeping changes that altered the way North Carolinian’s exercises their constitutional right to vote. We know these changes are designed specifically to lower democratic voter turnout and stifle any minority influence within the legislature because the proof is in the results that the laws give us.
If you ask governor Pat McCrory why these changes are being made he will lie and say these restrictions are needed to protect the integrity of the vote, and to cut down on voter fraud. We know that is a lie because voter fraud is almost nonexistent in NC. North Carolina hasn’t prosecuted one single case of voter fraud in the last 30 years. We can prove the real motive behind this by looking at the specific changes they made. Minority voters have a tradition called “souls to the polls” where church congregations load up in a bus after Sunday church service and go to vote as a group. So NC’s GOP decided to get rid of Sunday voting. Minorities are a lot less likely to have two forms of id. So NC’s GOP created a new voting rule requiring two forms of id to vote. In districts with a large percentage of democratic voters, NC’s GOP made sure they have less resources to accommodate the large number of voters. 70% of NC’s minorities took advantage of the state’s early voting in 2008. So NC’s GOP cut the number of early voting days. In the 2008 election blacks accounted for 42% of those who utilized the same day registration rule. So NC’s GOP got rid of same day registration. I could go on and on with statistics just like these that all hurt democratic candidates and unfairly target minorities. Every republican legislator who denies that these laws are designed to suppress the vote are insulting the intelligence of the American public. It’s impossible to put these restrictions and laws in place without knowing who they will negatively impact. I wish they would just be honest about their intentions because even though I think it’s a vile despicable slimy way to hold power, I’d at least respect their honesty and feel like they respected me enough to tell me the truth.
The good news in this sad state-of-affairs we call NC politics is, the Reverend Dr. William Barber and the Moral Monday movement. They are on the front lines fighting to get rid of these unconstitutional un-American, unfair, voter suppression laws. The movement has grown to include 80,000 North Carolinian’s from all walks of life. Governor McCrory and NC’s republican legislators should be very afraid of Dr Barber and his movement. Just like the Obama coalition from 2008, the Moral Monday movement is diverse, organized, and motivated. If you look at some of the protests you’ll see white, black, republicans, gay, straight, Christian, men and women. Some of these activist even voted for McCrory, but they see these voting laws for what they really are, and they refuse to sit in silence just because they are republican. When you have truth and justice on your side, you will be victorious in the end. The harder the opposition defends these unconstitutional laws, the larger the Moral Monday movement will grow. That will eventually lead to a democratic majority in North Carolina’s legislature, and a democrat in North Carolina’s governors mansion.
Just when you thought they couldn’t sink any lower they pull one of the sleaziest vote tampering tricks in the book. If you thought Kevin Spacey’s character on House of Cards was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet. The billionaire Koch brother’s political organization that helps republicans get elected, created a mailer with incorrect voter registration information and sent out thousands of them to North Carolina voters. Anyone who gets this in the mail and fills it out thinking they are registering to vote will be in for a rude awakening when they show up to the polls to cast their vote in November because their registration will not be processed due to the dirty trick the Koch brothers mailer played on them. And even though they can prove they thought they were registering when they filled out the mailer, NC’s new voting laws says they are still ineligible to cast their vote. This is how desperate the state’s republican party has become. They are willing to do anything, even shred our country’s constitution to hold on to power at any cost. Zero integrity, zero honesty, extremely poor character. I have no idea how Novembers election will turn out, but I know for a fact that the communities they are trying to stop from casting their vote, will show up in record numbers to let them know that this state can not be bought by billionaires with no morals, or won by dirty tricks created to elect republicans like Tom Tillis.
NC Republican admits they are trying to suppress the vote of minorities.
Republican mayor of Belhaven NC (near my hometown of Bath) joined forces with the NAACP to petition the governor to expand medicaid… and believe it or not, there are a lot of republicans here in the state who agree. I’ve said it a number of times but I’ll say it again; Governor Pat McCrory and the republican majority in the state legislature are killing off all future possibilities of them being elected as governor and giving democrats a better chance of regaining control. Art Pope’s money and influence isn’t going to be enough to save them if they continue to govern by extreme ideology in a state that was historically pretty moderate. They will soon come to the realization that refusing the medicaid expansion was a horrible idea with life or death consequences. Even if they change their minds (which of course will happen) and allow the expansion, the damage to their brand has already been done.
Article from NC Policy Watch: “You can’t close hospitals and let people die to prove a point.” So spoke the conservative Republican mayor of Belhaven, North Carolina, Adam O’Neal, this morning at a press conference at the state Legislative Building in Raleigh. O’Neal’s appearance (and his linking of hands with Rev. William Barber of the North Carolina NAACP) was the highlight of a powerful event at which advocates called on Gov. McCrory and legislative leaders to reverse course and admit that their ideologically-driven decision to refuse to expand the state’s Medicaid program under the terms of the Affordable Care Act is threatening the physical health of hundreds of thousands of North Carolinian’s and the financial health of dozens of hospitals — especially ones located in poorer, rural communities like Mayor O’Neal’s. O’Neal’s speech was an especially moving and courageous act by a man who claimed to disagree with Rev. Barber on most issues and who obviously placed any political ambitions he might harbor at risk by so publicly breaking with the leaders of his own party. But it was also obviously heartfelt and genuine — a fact that made it all the more powerful. – Read more of this story at: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2014/06/04/republican-mayor-from-eastern-nc-issues-emotional-call-for-medicaid-expansion/#sthash.ylgwuppp.dpuf