Saturday, February 8th,  eight days from now, will see the next Moral Monday rally. I am a supporter of this movement and, today, I want to share a few thoughts on the matter with you,

As a 52-year-old white male who grew up in rural North Carolina, I should be me squarely on the Republican side of this  debate. So, why aren’t I? Why do I side with the NAACP and a bunch of bleeding heart liberals protesting the actions of our Republican-led state government? Because, in their efforts “clean up the mess” previous administrations have made, the governor and the General Assembly are enacting policies that help them and their wealthy backers at the expense of less fortunate North Carolinians.

I’m not going to recount all the actions taken by these folks, that’s been done plenty of other places and there’s no need to go over it again. I’m not going to waste your time telling you why this belongs on what calls itself a Christian blog; if you don’t understand why, take a minute and read Matthew 25:31-46.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you have to agree that it’s the government’s responsibility to do these things, but it would be nice we could stop actively shitting on minorities, young people, those experiencing poverty and LGBT folks. They’re citizens of this state the same as Art Pope and his pals, even if they don’t have their money and political clout.

A lot of people have characterized those involved in the Moral Monday protests as “outsiders”, “deadbeats”, “free-loaders” and other derogatory terms. I resent these remarks and let me tell you why. As I said earlier, I am a supporter and I was born and raised in North Carolina. In fact, the only time significant time I’ve spent outside the state were the years I served in the U.S. Air Force. So, I’m not exactly what you’d call an outsider. I have never taken government assistance, having been gainfully employed for most of my adult life, and spent 23 years as a firefighter for the City of Raleigh, so I don’t think I qualify as (their definition of) a deadbeat. Now, there may be some folks who consider me a free-loader because I receive a pension from the NC Local Government Retirement system. To those people, I say I earned every penny of that pension by missing family celebrations and school functions while picking the pieces of stranger’s broken lives and crawling around in toxic environments that gave me the cancer which forced my early retirement. If I’m a deadbeat and free-loader, then so is every other firefighter, active and retired in this state. I’ll put our contributions to the people of North Carolina up against Pope, McCrory or Tillis any day of the week. If there are deadbeats and free-loaders in NC, you’re more likely to find them in the Legislative Building and the Governor’s Mansion than anywhere else.

The truth is, I support Moral Monday, HKonJ and any of the other groups standing up to the hypocrisy so prevalent in Raleigh these days not just because it benefits me ( it does), but because the North Carolina they envision is one that fits my values, one that I could be proud of again. Sadly, that hasn’t been this case for entirely too long.