Friday, March 25, 2016

HB2

If I understand it correctly, the bill just rammed through the NC General Assembly without notice and without time given for the legiscritters to, you know, READ what they were being asked to vote on will require a person identifying as male (and quite possibly with male genitalia and male secondary characteristics like facial hair) to use the women's room if their birth certificate says they were born female.  That's not an unintended consequence.  That is a punishment, pure and simple.  It's a feature.

But more than that, it is a clear indicator that the bigotry against my LGBT friends is being used as a smokescreen to hide what the rest of the consequences of the bill are.  It is not only anti-LGBT, it is anti-worker (anti-poor worker primarily) and focused on further consolidation of power at the state level, where the GOP has institutionalized its stranglehold on state government.

There is absolutely zero compelling reason for the state to prevent Charlotte from mandating a minimum wage that at least gets closer to a living wage for the city.  There is absolutely zero compelling reason for the state to prevent local municipalities from enacting anti-discrimination ordinances for veterans or service members (which Greensboro currently has).

It seems clear that HB2 runs afoul of Title IX which could cut off many millions of dollars of funding to NC schools.  It will obviously turn off large employers like IBM, RedHat, Netapp, SAS, Quintiles, Cisco, EMC (the list goes on).  But who thinks the current crop of legislators in Raleigh gives a shit about that?  They've already turned down Federal funding for Medicaid, they've already stripped funding from schools, they've already killed the film industry in NC and reduced unemployment protections to the worst in the nation.  For all of their bullshit during campaigns about being all about job creation, they don't give a flying about jobs - except their own.  "Smaller government" and "local control" be damned - it's all about consolidating their unConstitutionally-gained spoils in Raleigh.

There is a lot of energy right now among a lot of folks (many of them younger) that hadn't spent a lot of time thinking about politics until Senator Sanders starting campaigning for President.  There are more that are being energized from the other direction - in opposition to the campaign of The Donald.  Regardless of who wins the Democratic primaries, we need to find a way to channel *some* of that energy into state races in order to overcome the gerrymandered, quasi-permanent majority that the GOP has in North Carolina.  While turning the NCGA blue is not going to happen this cycle, finding enough votes to at least overcome the current GOP supermajority (hopefully coupled with a new Democratic governor) would be a good start.

Don't get so caught up in the dumpster fire that is the Presidential election that you don't pay attention to the down-ticket races - every damn one of them is vitally important.

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