It’s another Monday and, here in North Carolina, that means it’s time for another protest at the State Legislature Building. These protests, called Moral Mondays, started in April in response to what our General Assembly has been up to since getting elected last year, i.e. doing their level best to turn back the clock in this state about 60 or 70 years.
Since their installation, these “law” makers have either passed or attempted to pass bills that would change North Carolina from one of the more progressive southern states into a regressive backwater that makes Tennessee, Texas and Louisiana look like Northeastern blue states. Things like Amendment One (which doesn’t just outlaw same-sex marriage, but any partnership that isn’t “legal” marriage), a bill that denies science, another that establishes a state religion, turning down what amounts to free federal money that would extend health care benefits to 500,000 NC residents and multiple bills to disenfranchise people who traditionally vote for Democrats. Unfortunately, these examples are just a few of the monstrosities being contemplated. As Peter Lindstrom said in a Washington Spectator article: “North Carolina Republicans: they put the “ass” in “assembly'”!
For those you who might not know, I live in North Carolina. In fact, I was born and raised here and have lived practically all my life in this state. There was that exile to hinterlands of Oklahoma for a couple of years back in the 80’s, but other than that, my life has been spent within 100 miles of where I was born. For some folks, that might seem a trifle odd, maybe even a short-coming. But, North Carolina has been good to me. Which makes what’s happening that much harder to watch.
While I am a rather put out with our elected representatives, that’s not what’s got me peeved right now. Every time someone posts about getting arrested at a Moral Monday protest, I keep seeing people respond with gratitude for their safety. Um, safety? Look folks, I know we don’t have a very good image right now, but we’re not exactly Mississippi in 1964 either. I was a firefighter in Raleigh for 23 years and I know quite a few Raleigh Police Officers and Wake County Deputies and every time you say “Thank God you’re safe”, “I’m praying for your safety” or anything else like that, it’s a slap in the face to some decent, hard-working people who are just doing their job. Considering the number of men and women who work for these agencies, odds are that a good number actually agree with what the protesters are saying.
Have there been abuses? It’s likely. Screw ups? Definitely. Arresting a reporter was pretty damn stupid and whoever ordered that needs their legs streaked , but good. But, on the whole, the situation faced by protesters who’ve been arrested is a relatively safe one.
Look, do me a favor, will you? Today, when you read someone’s Facebook status or tweet about getting arrested at the Moral Monday protest, congratulate them. Tell them you’re proud of the way they’re standing up to what can only be called evil. Say you can’t believe the lunacy that passes for reasoned thought in the North Carolina General ASSembly. Pretty much anything but “I’m glad you’re safe”, because their safety isn’t anymore in question at 330 S. Salisbury St  than it was crossing the street a little earlier.