Friends, it has been a while since our last stop on the Southern Express. And, honey-chile, this one will be a real treat. One you surely don’t want to miss. So, go on, grab your sweet tea, immerse yourself in insect repellant, and…
North Carolina. Majestic mountains. Beautiful beaches.
One of the more progressive southern states prior to the..
The North Carolina that we are seeing today is at odds with the trajectory the state has been on in recent years. The southern states may seem as though they are vehemently opposed to ideals like change and progress. In my view, North Carolina has always been different.
A little history….
Even during our nation’s ugliest time, the Civil War, this state was a bit progressive. “The second to last (technically the last) state to secede from the Union” did so reluctantly in 1861, and wasn’t as sold on slavery as the rest of the south. They – along with Virginia, Tennessee, and Arkansas – initially chose to remain with the Union, after Lincoln was elected. Confederate forces in South Carolina (Boy-oh-boy, our stop there will be fun!) fired on the Union, forcing the hold-out states to fight for the federal government or their neighbors.
The above facts, in no way, justify the actions taken statewide during Reconstruction. The state did, however, make great strides once it became clear that they couldn’t put skeletons back in the closet.
The eat-ins and sit-ins led to incremental integration. Education became a priority, and was heavily invested in. Tobacco was replaced with textiles, then technology.
North Carolina attempted to rise above the title of “confederate sympathizer”. Instead, it focused on its memories of the Wright brothers and Kitty Hawk. Those majestic mountains and beautiful beaches were boons for tourism. I, myself, thoroughly enjoy time spent at Atlantic Beach each year.
Many have grooved to Thelonious Monk, Pink Floyd, and Roberta Flack. We were touched that James Taylor had Carolina in his mind. The Andy Griffith show was mandatory viewing in many households. And everybody wished they could jump like Mike!
North Carolina gave us Duke University, a pioneer in the medical field. It gave us Shaw University, the first HBC, as well as Salem College, the first school for young women. The state’s Research Triangle brought in major industries – such as IBM, GlaxoKlineSmith, and LabCorp – providing jobs and careers for residents.
What a difference a (voting) day makes!
This is not progressive.
North Carolina’s Republicans took simultaneous control of the legislature and governor’s mansion in January for the first time in more than a century. The current session has been marked by sweeping conservative measures in what has long been counted as among the South’s most progressive states.
Arrests? Of nearly 675 people since these peaceful protests began? Because they do not approve of your policies, and are exercising their right to protest, they are “morons” who deserve to be arrested? To further marginalize them, they are called “outsiders”. Never mind the fact that arrest records show that nearly all are from within the state and the fact that slashing unemployment benefits for over 100,000 residents and decreasing benefits for the rest might be seen as irresponsible.
We can’t call this progressive either.
As legislators enter the final phase of closed-door state budget negotiations, young children could wind up being the biggest losers.
Children with special needs will lose much-needed services, like speech and developmental therapy. Ten thousand Pre-K slots will be lost over a two-year period. Prenatal care will be unaffordable for many. The Child Fatality Task Force will be eliminated, even though child death rate has dropped 46%. Healthier, more well-adjusted children is a smart investment that residents support.
Repealing the Racial Injustice Act? Not progress. Because racial discrimination has never been the best option for a state, or the nation.
Quietly imposing “the biggest overhaul of the state’s tax system in more than a decade.” … not progressive. Decisions that impact a state should be discussed, no, especially when you’re favoring one segment of the population at the expense of another. FTA: Supported by Gov. Pat McCrory, the bill adds a sales tax to numerous exempt services, such as car repairs and appliance installations, to pay for moderate cuts in personal and corporate income taxes.
The necessity for stealth doesn’t usually indicate progress. I know we women can be freedom riders, but seriously? One of the most basic human rights is full and complete dominion over one’s body. Why not just ban women and be done with it?
Does anyone, especially college students, find this progressive? I think not. Because didn’t we already determine this was not the way forward?
In retrospect, perhaps we ALL should have been worried when this hit the news. Because Church of North Carolina meet the Constitution, already!
So, yeah, I would say the Tar Heels got turned around. Wouldn’t you?
What to do..what to do..
Protest. And protest some more. Transform “Moral Mondays” into “We, the people Week”.. “Month of Marches”.. straight to the voting booth!
Because this is not about conservative and liberal. It is about right and wrong.
Once you were a progressive state. You can be again.