Recently, an editorial in The Virginian-Pilot entitled “For cause of N.C. woes, look beyond McCrory” suggested that we need not be overly concerned with voting Governor McCrory out of office. Rather, we should make changes in the NC Legislature, because the legislators are really the source of our problems.
I strongly disagree with this premise mainly because it seems to give Governor McCrory a pass for the ill he has done while in office. It also ignores the power of the executive branch of government, especially the persuasive power of the occupant of The Big House.
The Governor and many legislators need to go. The two (2) high-profile agenda items that the editorial laid at Governor McCrory’s feet include HB2 (the bathroom bill) and the rolling back of voting rights or voter suppression. First, it is important to note that the HB2 is presented as a trojan horse, drawing attention to who is behind the bathroom stall, while directing your attention away from the real substance of House Bill 2. Easily the most important provision of the HB2 is there “to create Statewide Consistency in Regulation of Employment And Contracting.” In other words, Part 2 of HB2 regulates wages and hours of employment and sick leave compensation for workers throughout North Carolina. Since North Carolina is a non-union state or a right to work for whatever the employer wants to pay you state, provisions in HB2 dealing with wages and conditions of employment, seem to me, of greater significance than who is behind bathroom stall #1. While the rest of the country is fighting to raise the minimum wage to a living wage or $15 per hour, Governor McCrory’s HB2 bill says companies in NC can pay workers much, much less. Provisions of HB2, also, make it illegal to file law suits in cases where people think they have been subjected to discrimination in employment opportunity based on race, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, etc. Think Lilly Ledbetter!
So far, everyone is so focused on who can use the bathroom (never mind that there are only a few Caitlyn Jenner’s in the world), that we are missing the bigger picture–wages and hours and equal employment opportunity for 99% of the people in NC are not on track to meet our needs and the needs of our children because of the policies enacted by NC Legislators and Governor McCrory.
The 2nd agenda item laid at Governor McCrory’s feet in The Virginian-Pilot editorial has to do with voter suppression —by limiting when the polls can be open and requiring stricter voter ID. So, if your 88 year-old grandmother does not have a driver’s license because she is no longer able to drive, she could be denied the right to vote. Recently, the Federal Court of Appeals struck down McCrory’s voter suppression laws in the case of the NAACP v. McCrory. The court found that voting laws passed by the NC Legislature and signed by Governor McCrory were discriminatory based on race.
Finally, if any part of HB2 is thrown out by, let’s say, the Federal Government, the rest remains in effect. That’s called locking all the doors and windows to keep people impoverished.
Yes, we need to vote out legislators who do not act in our interests. But, we cannot afford to leave Governors, like McCrory, in power because they, not only actively push forward legislation that is harmful to the general welfare; they refuse to use the veto pen.
The Virginian-Pilot editorial rightly noted that environmental protections were rolled back after McCrory assumed the office of governor. The editorial noted that Governor McCrory was formerly employed by Duke Energy, and that the water supply around the Dan River was polluted by a coal ash spill from one of the Duke Energy Facilities. According to the editorial, Duke Energy did not suffer any grievous penalty (in other words, Duke Energy is still profiting), while I am sure the people around the Dan River are suffering irreparable harm. The people living near the Dan River are forced to drink bottled water. The people living near the Dan River cannot just sell their homes and resume their lives elsewhere. Perhaps, the Governor should fight as hard to protect the lives of the residents affected by the polluted Dan River as he is fighting to keep HB2 alive.
So, to my mind, Governor McCrory is a major culprit in harming North Carolinians in fundamental ways: by protecting a company that polluted the water that is necessary for human survival, by putting forth and fighting for a bill that makes it lawful to pay a wage less than a laborer is due for an honest days work thereby making it harder for people to feed their families, and by fighting for a restrictive voting law that would deny all men and women a say in their governance.
I vote that we clean house, including The Big House in North Carolina.