Somewhere the ghosts of Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, and Zebulon Baird Vance are smiling...

Paul Evans

Quietly watching as ideologues disenfranchise our family, friends, and neighbors is not the American Way – and it must not become so.

North Carolina Governor Patrick McCrory is not old enough to have fought for the Confederacy. He likely doesn’t remember the Civil Rights campaigns of the 1950s and 1960s.

McCrory is a well-known Duke Energy businessman who served seven terms as the mayor of Charlotte. He and his wife have lived in North Carolina all their lives and, at least according to his website, Patrick McCrory loves his dog “Moe.”

A brief survey of his tenure reports no identifiable pattern of personal or professional misconduct on issues associated with culture, ethnicity, or race. McCrory is understood to be a cautious, pro-business Tar Heel State type of Republican.

Truth be told, until recently most people viewed McCrory as a relatively generic “New South” GOP politician – until recently that is.

This past week Governor Patrick McCrory resurrected voter suppression legislation that sets a new low for crimes against equality.

In addition to signing Jim Crow 2.0 into law Governor McCrory signed legislation introducing new restrictions for abortion clinics, expanded concealed carry permits, and cut unemployment services.

Independently these laws are sufficient cause for alarm. Taken as a whole – as a package of anti-democracy policies – it is an event that should incite a call to arms for all Americans that cherish the notion of equality before the law.

Make no mistake about it: his actions are a declaration of hostilities – against the disenfranchised, the working poor, and women.

In his prepared remarks aired on YouTube the Governor asserted a rationale for his actions based upon the exigencies of securing democracy: McCrory believes we must enhance structural and systemic abuses of the ballot.

Americans care about the right to vote; it is the most essential responsibility – and privilege – of being a citizen.

Through the vote we sustain our Republic: elections are the communicative infrastructure required for the governed as well as those sent to govern on our behalf.

McCrory governs a North Carolina that will now demand voter identification (excluding previous documents allowed for such purposes). Unfortunately, the amalgamation of suppressive policies included far more than merely on-demand identification checks.

With his signature, North Carolina also: shortened voting periods (including ending voting on Sundays), eliminated a civics curriculum for 16-17 year olds as well as popular pre-registration programs, expanded loopholes for political non-profit organizations, ended annual state-led voter registration, and most egregiously – constrained access for the most mobile populations within his state (e.g. the working poor).

With a sweep of his pen, Patrick McCrory led his state back to the future – or perhaps, into a future of backwardness…

The situation of North Carolina is an unfortunate but all too logical, rational outcome given the US Supreme Court’s recent decision actions gutting major elements of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

We now live in an era where states are encouraged to promote tailored elections policies: too often tailored for the benefit of the entrenched elites.

Jim Crow 2.0 is different from its earlier manifestations, but no less dangerous.

Racial issues endure as divisive enablers of sustained disunity and inequalities. Sadly, many of the emergent policies associated with voter identification/suppression have expanded the scale, scope, and size of disenfranchisement.

These new laws are crafted to constrain access for all working poor: it is an undeniable strategy to win elections – despite a declining supporter base – through manipulation of the least able to wage a sustained struggle against the structures and systems imposed upon them.

Though some may argue the point, I assert that all laws seeking to constrain or deny access of any one group of Americans, is a threat to all Americans.

Laws purposefully enacted to limit the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of any American is a clear and present danger for all Americans.

If the US Government does not strike down such laws in defense of the 14th Amendment, then as many of the several states as possible have a duty to collaborate in pursuit of legal remedy: to file suit against all states that seek a lessened value for our shared full faith and credit expectations.

In our Union, no singular state may cheapen the franchise purchased with the blood of generations of patriots.

Somebody should remind the Governor of North Carolina that the War of Rebellion ended badly for the men that stood against freedom, liberty, and Union.

We cannot accept an America where any American is valued less than any other American before the law.

In the end, we either believe in the principles of equality or we do not believe in the principles of equality.

Quietly watching as ideologues disenfranchise our family, friends, and neighbors is not the American Way – and it must not become so.

Comments

connect with blueoregon