Blinking contestis a no-winaffair for state

From The Robesonian …

North Carolina’s Republican leadership is in a blinking contest with the U.S. Justice Department and there is plenty at stake, as much as $3 billion a year of federal dollars that is shared among the 17-member UNC System and the state’s public schools, including urgently needed money that comes to Robeson County.

The issue is House Bill 2, which most folks are weary of reading and hearing about. It was a crisis contrived by the city of Charlotte — were transgenders really struggling to find a place to do their business? — that provoked a clumsy overreaction from this state’s lawmakers, including those representing this county who are having buyer’s remorse.

Supporters of the legislation can defiantly laugh about not allowing the federal government to bully our state, but the potential consequences are real, and the state’s educational systems, both primary and secondary, stand to lose money they can’t afford to do without.

The Justice Department this week announced it was suing North Carolina, saying the bill violates the Civil Rights Act, therefore putting those federal dollars in jeopardy. Gov. Pat McCrory responded by suing the federal government, so it appears we are at an impasse.

While the state prepares to spend what could add up to a lot of money in a legal fight it is likely to lose, North Carolina’s economy, which has been rebounding under GOP leadership, continues to suffer a single cut at a time, some deeper than others, but all robbing people of income. We know that some companies have decided to take their jobs elsewhere, some rock musicians have canceled performances, and there is a threat that the NBA franchise in Charlotte will leave North Carolina.

All because of a bill that addressed a problem that didn’t exist, but also took detours to include making it more difficult for some to claim discrimination in workplace, and even meddled with the minimum wage.

There is growing support in the General Assembly to revisit House Bill 2, including among our local representatives, whose sway will be limited because they all have D affixed beside their names. Three of our local legislators favored the legislation, one was absent during the vote, and our senator didn’t cast a vote as there wasn’t one in that chamber after all the Democrats walked out, choosing not to vote on rushed legislation the didn’t even understand.

We don’t know if the momentum is sufficient to get HB2 rolled back sufficiently that it would prevent more damage to our economy. The issue now seems to be ego-driven, and the North Carolina lawmakers clinging hardest to HB2 as it now exists appear more concerned about winning the blinking contest than keeping this state’s economy on its upward trend.

The time has arrived when sanity must rule, and Republicans in leadership positions, including McCrory, need to remember that they will pay a big price at the polls if they continue to push North Carolina down this plank. It’s a matter of time before HB2 is a bad memory, and the Republicans can make themselves the same in November if they don’t flush this bathroom bill.



“Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.” (Elisabeth Elliot)

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