Wednesday, July 31, 2013
You've probably seen or read that our NC Legislature is pretty much done fouling the punch bowl for now. We've become national news here, supplanting Wisconsin, the state where the nullification counter-revolution funded by the oligarchs and driven by the folks who know they've lost their heritage of white entitlement and are damned pissed off about it. Back in '72 these same forces elected Jesse Helms, in a race where the Democratic Party of that era was split between the traditional southern conservatives who hadn't yet jumped to the other party, and the moderate wing, who were behind a sitting congressman from Chapel Hill with a Greek name. Helms had been spewing hate and racism for ten years at our flagship Raleigh teevee station, WRAL, having his own five minutes every weekday news hour to opine on whatever was eating at his craw. Serial topics included the civil rights activities in Chapel Hill and Washington, Martin Luther King's seditious intentions, and Jane Fonda.
Once Helms got to Washington he was pretty much the same guy running his red-neck mouth, and he spent the rest of his life tossing whatever spanners were in reach at whatever spokes were available. For the most part, his accomplishments included simply giving North Carolina a public black eye, and doing a decent job at the other job of a senator--getting favors done for specific constituents, including many ordinary NC citizens who had some problem or other that could be addressed by some grease on the rails of the gubment which, running on spoked tires, Helms continued to publicly sabotage as he could. He held up many capable appointments. He stymied various sensible foreign policy measures. He passed the pork and gravy. And in NC he won election after election against capable Democratic opponents by mustering the forces of racism and aggrieved white privilege, people who were fine with voting against even their own specific interests if it meant they could land a blow against some hippie or queer or uppity women or black person. Mr. Helms had the championship sneer of all time.
Helms is of course gone. His side of North Carolina, however, remains, and these days it holds all the reins of power. Back in the late '80s and again in the early '90s, the liberal black mayor of Charlotte ran against Helms twice, and lost twice. Now we have an ex-Charlotte mayor as our Republican governor. Pat McCrory. He came down here with his cloth suitcases as a callow youth, got a good job at Duke Power, and acted like a moderate. Possibly his first run for Governor embittered him, since he lost, and often an egotist who loses becomes a person aiming to find payback. Possibly and more likely Mr. McCrory decided, like George Wallace before him, that warn't nobody gonna "out nigger" him again. McCrory made a deal with power.
Here's how you can smell a deal. Back when we were having debates and stuff, before last fall's election, Pat McCrory, Candidate, guaran-damn-teed that he would make no change in the nature and status of women's choice law in North Carolina. McCrory is absolute. Asked directly what changes he would make, he says flatly and simply, "none." There's no nuance, no equivocation.
So much for being "on the record." Possibly we are generally being tested these days on what "being on the record" means, if anything, to our voting public. Certainly the case of Mr. Weiner comes immediately to mind. He brazens on, dragging his missus behind him (or maybe she's dragging him?). My view of McCrory was, previous to this women's right to choose issue, that he was aiming for national office in the next Presidential Election, a fresh new face, articulate, with lots of business experience, yet not a true oligarch himself (as was Romney). Now he's got this, a flat-out guaran-damn-tee lie. The Legislature gave him a bold new law that comes close to being the most regressive with regards to womens health clinics as any in the United States--and that includes the fresh, similar laws passed in Mississippi, South Dakota, and Kansas. McCrory signed it with a smile.
What this really shows, I think, is that Mr. McCrory made private promises to power. The first promise was, forget any scruples you may have had, you're ours now. So I am at least hopeful that McCrory's national ambitions are obliterated. While plenty of women choose to hitch their wagons to white male power no matter what the price, these days a majority of women are at least aware enough to know that returning to the days when abortions killed, and when shame ruled a woman's life, are not acceptable options. The women who know this include quite a few who, publicly, might well picket a woman's health clinic. For women, the dilemma will always be existential. This means, hopefully, that McCrory's elephantine ambition must slowly starve on the little bag of peanuts his governorship of North Carolina amounts to. After this term, McCrory may well go back to being what he was, some anonymous manager of something or other. Possibly, should the Republicans come to power after Mr. Obama's term, he'll get some job in DC destroying some agency or secretariat. That'll be it, at best. And if the Republicans do come back to national power, there will be larger concerns, if not horrors, for all of us. These people aim to burn down the world.
Meanwhile, here's the lie: