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My home state, the Tarheel State, one of basketball legend, great barbecue, beautiful mountains and beaches, and the birthplace of aviation, is in jeopardy.  Great jeopardy, peril, and even danger.  The insidious march of the Tea Party and it's Art Pope/Koch Brothers agenda is continuing its ardent pursuit to make this an uninhabitable state.  A state so backward, so lost in the pursuit of power and greed that if you are a woman, black, Latino, or anything other than a bible-totin' right-wing conservative 'Christian' male, you'd best pack up your belongings and high-tail it out of one of the original Thirteen Colonies.

The latest step in a long list of legislation aimed at taking us back to the 1800's is a bill waiting for Governor Pat McCrory's signature, one that he will most assuredly sign, that will restart executions in North Carolina.

The legislation will repeal the Racial Justice Act, a law that allows death-row inmates to challenge their sentences based on racial bias claims. The law was the only one of its kind in the country, allowing inmates to use state and county statistics to claim that race played a role in their sentencing. Since the law took effect in 2009, nearly everyone facing execution — not all of them black — have used it in hopes of reducing sentences to life in prison.  There are currently 152 inmates on death row in North Carolina.

The floor debate over the Racial Justice Act began a day after 151 people were arrested in Raleigh at a Moral Monday gathering. Preserving the act, passed when there was a Democrat in the governor’s office and the legislature was not as heavily controlled by Republicans, was among dozens of issues brought up by Moral Monday protesters who have been gathering every Monday since April.

This, in the long line of Republican-backed legislation aimed reducing and eliminating the rights of women, blacks, immigrants, the poor and disenfranchised, really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has followed NC politics in the last six months.  But what really shakes the ground under my feet is the responses I've seen and heard from individuals who think that this is a good idea.  The amount of outright hatred, vitriol, and bigotry spewed from them is appalling. An internet posting from a local television station, WSOC-TV in Charlotte, asks viewers their opinion about this legislation.  Overwhelmingly, most of it was downright vile:

"Kill them all and let God sort them out. Costs more to execute a criminal than house them for the rest of their lives, but it's worth the extra cost just to know that they're dead."

"Sell tickets at a arena put the person in with a Lion. If he gets out alive well he or she is set free. We know what happens if the lion wins. All money paid by the admission sells go toward the courts cost and victim and their families. This would be better than football."

Are these the kind of people I want to live next door to, walk down the street beside, eat in the same restaurants, and watch a movie with?  Of course not.  Maybe I'm just incredibly naive, but I'm still shaking at the hatred.  I want to curl up in a corner, close my eyes, and just make these nasty, horrible people go away.   I've been told lately by some acquaintances and even family that I'm too 'liberal' in my comments and postings on social media.  That's a pretty far leap, considering that I've moved over from the 'dark side' only a few years ago.  I was born and raised a Republican Southern Baptist, and it's taken 50-plus years and a great friend and teacher to ameliorate most of the damage.  Just when I'm beginning to feel that there are many like-minded people, outside of the safe warm nest of Daily Kos and a few liberal media outlets, I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of conservative zealots.

Only time will tell what will happen to our great Tarheel state, but it's looking more and more like my time here could be short-lived.

Originally posted to VeloVixen on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 04:27 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh sweetie! What a tragedy for NC that the (10+ / 0-)

    wingers want to resume state-sponsored murder. That's just horrible.

    My SIL and BIL live there, and I think my SIL will be actively opposing this travesty of justice. She's a non-practicing lawyer, smart as a whip, and I'm going to aim her right at the Legislature.

    I don't think she and my BIL, who is a retiring cardiologist, will like this development in their home state one bit.

    Very sorry you have to experience this, but there are lots of good, bright Tarheels who might well rise up in opposition to the re-institution of murder by the State of North Carolina.

    Here's hoping!

    •  Yes, there are some very bright Tarheels (10+ / 0-)

      Just look at those who are attending Moral Mondays.  I pray that those who are decent at heart will prevail!

      "We are made of so much more than bone or flesh. Grace, humor, compassion; these are our swords. Continue to fight, to heal, and to inspire all to do and be better than the day before." --VV

      by VeloVixen on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 04:54:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yet another thing... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VeloVixen, slowbutsure, kayak58

        Showing how dumb the Tea Baggers in this state are..we ARE one of the original Thirteen Colonies!

        But since they are so bitterly opposed to funding public education at ANY level, that should surprise absolutely no one.

        I am among those praying for the courts to knock down the Extreme Gerrymander job the Repubs at the G.A. did to their districts--and Congressional districts--two years ago. THAT would make 'em squirm...the knowledge that, next year, they would have to run in many districts that a Democrat could actually again win.

        "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it."--George Santayana

        by GainesT1958 on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 09:53:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  No, you aren't alone. Thank you for this diary, (15+ / 0-)

    and please remember that the majority of NC voted for Dems last time around- this is the result of gerrymandering and not about NC being uniquely evil. If only! I hope to see you at an upcoming MM. They are lovely experiences, and their positivity has been really valuable to me, personally.

  •  I encourage you to join the conversation (10+ / 0-)

    at BlueNC.com and help us change what's happening.  

    It's not going to be easy.  When we have a state senator calling constituents "morons" because they disagree with his bigoted ideas, it's a sign of the deep shit we're in.

    Further, the NC democratic party organization is in real disarray... as I'm sure you know.  Has been for years as they avoided truly working for better democrats.

    The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. - Dante Alighieri

    by Persiflage on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 05:02:17 PM PDT

    •  That is the part that we can change (11+ / 0-)

      making the state Democratic party stronger.  Thank you!

      "We are made of so much more than bone or flesh. Grace, humor, compassion; these are our swords. Continue to fight, to heal, and to inspire all to do and be better than the day before." --VV

      by VeloVixen on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 05:23:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Calling protesters "outside agitators" (9+ / 0-)

      I can't believe that Republican legislators are blaming Moral Mondays on "outsiders"--even though, as WRAL TV has pointed out, 98% of those arrested living in NC.

      Don't these guys know the resonance of that phrase?

      Don't they know that's what anti civil rights southerners claimed all civil rights workers were in the 1950s and 1960s?

      The highest form of spiritual practice is self observation with compassion.

      by NCJim on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 07:09:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think they're too bigoted and foolish (0+ / 0-)

        to know or care.  Our best hope is that their policies will also impact their base and get they booted in 2014.  Assholes one and all.

        The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. - Dante Alighieri

        by Persiflage on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 04:03:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh they know quite well that this is a home grown (0+ / 0-)

        movement and they are just beginning to run a little scared.  Need to keep the pressure up on "Moral Mondays", and increase the participation.  A few of us from the Asheville area KOS folks are getting plans together for a group trip to Raleigh.

        I can't wait to go, as both my wife and I are seeing our state drift and morph into an unrecognizable backward place to live that we never thought we would ever see happen in our lifetime.

        “The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.” - Voltaire.

        by LamontCranston on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 09:21:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hi VeloVixen (4+ / 0-)

    Interesting Diary, and I feel your pain.

    Might it be possible to provide links to the sources of those appalling comments that you quoted.

    Thanks.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 06:28:34 PM PDT

  •  Was the death penalty not the law in NC (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg, commonmass, VeloVixen

    already?  Or was the Racial Justice Act effectively a moratorium on the death penalty?  

  •  Reinstate the death penalty? (7+ / 0-)

    The more I see of the Tea Party, the more I'm thinking that these people are savages. The vile ideology they practice needs to be burned down to the ground and then sow the site with salt.

  •  I listened live to the debate at the legislature (6+ / 0-)

    The Repubs spoke over and over:

    "Look at him- he looks like he did it- We know he did it. So what's the problem?..... Get on with it... Execute him already!"
  •  My best friend is from Raleigh. His parents (9+ / 0-)

    grew up in Morehead City (where my friend and I meet nearly every year for a week of sailing, swimming off the boat, and creative galley cooking). His mother has worked for the North Carolina Democratic Party and also for the state. I have spent a lot of time in North Carolina over the years and it's a state that I have really fallen in love with. The quotes you give above--that's not typical of the North Carolinians that I have come to know and love.

    Last time I was in Raleigh, my friend and I found ourselves in a large shopping centre, the parking lot of which was full of electric vehicle recharging stations. Even Boston and Cambridge have not gone that far towards making their cities accessible to EVs. "What a great place!" I always think when I visit Raleigh.

    This friend of mine, Andrew, got his D. Mus. down in SC. I visited him there several times, and I really saw the difference. Andrew makes the distinction that SC is part of what he calls "the South" (by which he means the Deep South), something I've never heard him say about North Carolina. I don't know if this is typical, but he and his friends and family seem to take an awful lot of pride in not being part of "that" South. I can see why, because up until recently, NC seemed to be a fairly sane place. The kind of legislation that has been taking place in NC is really appalling. His mother, the hard core Democrat (and liberal one at that) is totally livid. What's going on down there? Why are North Carolinians standing for this?

    It's good to see the protests on Mondays. It's good to see North Carolinians getting angry. This legislative agenda--and we've seen this in Maine, too, though much of the ALEC/Koch agenda has been defeated here even by the previous GOP dominated lege--this agenda is unbecoming to a state which is part of the Original Thirteen.

    There seems to be what another NC friend of mine called "the Race to the South: let's see who can become Alabama first, Virginia or North Carolina". It's really sad to see what is happening in both of those states. To my mind, backpedaling on trying to make the death penalty fairly applied if it's going to be at all is a terrible mistake. It's been pretty much proven that there is a racial disparity between who gets life and who gets fried. To deny this serves no purpose other than the advancement of racism, a digging in to a system which is already unjust, and satisfying the lizard brain urge of the human being to mete out retribution and, apparently, make sport of it in the process (at least in that one commenter's view).

    I was down in Raleigh the week that the vote was taken on the marriage equality issue. Here's what I encountered on Sunday at the Church of the Good Shepherd, just down the block from the State Capitol:

    These are the North Carolinians I know: thoughtful, moderate, accepting, embracing progress. I hope together you progressive North Carolinians can put up a hell of a fight against the toxic legislative agenda. Keep us informed: many of us love NC, have ties to the state, and want to see it flourish and see real justice flourish, not some dystopian Koch Brothers future.

    I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

    by commonmass on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 05:15:37 AM PDT

    •  Raleigh, ironically, seems to be a bit more sane (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shmuelman, TexDem, commonmass, kayak58

      and progressive than other parts of NC.  I say ironically, because of course, that's where all the nasty legislation is taking place.  Raleigh is also at the center of the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill triangle that includes the Research Triangle.  With three major universities and a major R&D facility, this would naturally be a more progressive area.

      I live in the Charlotte metro area, and am shocked by the attitudes around me.  Is it because Charlotte is a major part of the banking industry?  Surprisingly, there are a lot of  folks who have settled here from New York, New Jersey, and Florida.  It is more diverse and yet more regressive and conservative than Raleigh.

      The Episcopal Church has always inclusive; a place of welcome and support, no matter what your race, color, or faith.  After growing up in a southern Baptist church, I moved to the Episcopal church in my early 20's.

      "We are made of so much more than bone or flesh. Grace, humor, compassion; these are our swords. Continue to fight, to heal, and to inspire all to do and be better than the day before." --VV

      by VeloVixen on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 07:04:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is there a correlation between being educated (4+ / 0-)

        and if not liberal, at least not being a racist reactionary? Would we see a correlation between attempting to dismantle our public education system and reactionary state legislatures to further their agenda into the next generation?
        Fortunately, I can't see the Republicans taking the White House anytime soon - maybe not even the Senate, due to demographics. The shame of the Democratic Party was/is the oversight of fighting at the state legislature level. It has clearly cost Democrats a majority in the House and subjected millions to racism and corporatist classism in many states that were formerly more "liberal" (not tea-party controlled).

        "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

        by shmuelman on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 07:27:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  NC, meet Florida. Florida, Meet NC (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexDem, VeloVixen, OleHippieChick

    Why should we expect the most backward states to do anything but keep going backward? But you're not naive at being upset by the hatred. The public is so brainwashed to believe that anyone condemned to death deserves to die, that the hatred is nearly universal. The comments following news articles about the recent execution, in Florida, of William Van Poyck, were just as sickening.

    "They think if people can possess enough things they will be content to live in prison." Ursula Le Guin

    by Catana on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 07:11:18 AM PDT

  •  What do I care, I'm an upper middle class white (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexDem, VeloVixen

    man. Living with gross injustice and racism shouldn't affect me, should it?
    I am sorry, NC, along with some other states (WI, MI) seem to be slipping into darkness. We can only hope that it is the death throws of the reactionary movement as the next generation of Americans comes into power.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 07:20:11 AM PDT

  •  Hate to say it but NC reminds me of... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    saluda, VeloVixen, OleHippieChick, kayak58

    ...a Latin American republic in the '50's, '60's or '70's which dabbled in progressive government that sought to bring power and economic opportunity to the people only to become overcome by a vicious, brutal and ruthless rightwing authoritarian backlash which led to dictatorships that sought to grind progressive and social justice impulses into the ground under its heel.  Guatemala, Chile....  Obama winning the state in '08 seems to have caused the same effect.

  •  Thank you for this important diary (0+ / 0-)

    ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

    by slowbutsure on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 05:52:38 PM PDT

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