In North Carolina this week, those concerned with the outcome of local election results have found themselves faced with just an added -- and yet somehow not completely far-fetched -- bit of anticipation. Because we didn't collectively have enough items to worry over through this unprecedented political season slump. I don't know about you, but I personally was drawing dangerously close to boredom. Another holiday season? Paying rent? I laugh in the face of societal sanity! Find me drama, some childlike-level of a political coping mechanism, and let's fling that sucker front and center on our great state's stage.
What am I talking about? The bitter icing on the cake, another nail driven deep into this ugly coffin: Our wildly unpopular incumbent governor Pat McCrory has refused to publicly accept the results of his race for reelection. Currently, he trails the N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper by over 6,000 votes, according to the unofficial state count -- or by as many as 8,500 if you're a subscriber to evidence presented by the democratic camp. While Cooper has recently mustered the political equivalent of *cough cough* moving on -- you know, eating copious amounts of ice cream because he's worth it, deleting McCrory's number, taking a squad member head count -- the ex-governor has established a pathetic laundry list of potential instances of voter fraud he claims has misrepresented his former constituents' attitudes.
And while such grievances and their related scheduled hearings are indeed within one's legal rights following a local race with fewer than 10,000 deciding votes, I hate to say it, but at this point it's just sad. Multiple reporting news organizations -- and pure common sense -- attest that a reversal of this magnitude is highly uncommon. Not to mention it's more than a little out of the question considering the tightened voter restrictions enacted on McCrory's own watch.
Since 2013, his administration has become a supreme abuser of ordinary people's voting rights, passing laws that redistricted predominately democratic sections of the state, reduced our number of early-voting days, and changed certain registration procedures designed to harm those in our society with the least amount of social and financial stability. In the words of a justice for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, "The new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision and impose cures for problems that did not exist. Thus the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State’s true motivation.”
It's also worth mentioning that this particular race was very close on election night. Those of us who watched the results come in observed McCrory's apparent victory and came to take it as the probably truth even as we went to bed that evening. It wasn't until the next morning that the deciding count was announced, that shift in power stemming largely from the ballots totaled in the predominately and traditionally blue Durham county, whose counting systems had suffered from technical difficulties the previous day.
McCrory, baby -- sometimes, that's just the way the cookie crumbles -- fairly and squarely, that is. Karma is a b****.
To some of those just tuning into this debate, who may not be and who may never have been residents of North Carolina, such a karmic claim might not make very much sense. I mean, you've heard of HB2, but is he really such a bad guy?
To provide you the short and sweet of it: Yes. We're lucky we have the internet, because there is a world of literature from independent researchers, members of the educational community and free weekly newspapers alike, all of which expose the blatant instances of bigotry and discrimination upon which ex-governor McCrory has built his empire which, to his apparent disbelief, has ultimately failed him. Go on, do a little digging yourself. I'll wait.
Here's my favorite one:
During the 2012 gubernatorial race, McCrory made a brief statement with regard to women's healthcare during a debate against his democratic opponent Walter Dalton. Asked whether he would enact further abortion restrictions if elected, he responded, "No."
Fast-forward to July of 2013, just under a year later. Our governor signs new legislation into law introducing three new abortion-related restrictions: It required abortion providers to meet all the same standards as surgical centers, allowed healthcare providers to decline to provide abortions based on personal beliefs, and prevented public health insurance providers from covering any part of abortion procedure costs. And for those who aren't convinced that that first provision was so bad -- maybe it really was stated for the benefit of public good? -- I encourage you to look further.
As evidenced by a piece by the Guttmacher Institute (in addition to a pretty convincing feature on John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight"), those "surgical standards" which claim to make things safer often are responsible for unnecessary hurdles which women's health care providers must now face. Again, they impose cures for problems which do not exist. Such surgical standards often seek to impose reform within the day-to-day workings of a healthcare establishment which, unsurprisingly, vary immensely based on the types of work they do. For example, certain states, like Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia, have especially strict surgical standards, and a handful of Planned Parenthoods have faced temporary closure in face of similar rulings because their hallways were not wide enough to accommodate surgically-standardized hospital gurneys, which in fact they do not use.
As a 23-year-old member of our state's recently educated and newly working class, I sometimes struggle to pin any politically-affiliated label upon myself. I believe that discipline and truthfulness ought to determine's one backing of a candidate, not the political category under which that individual falls on a ballot.
But for whatever reason, this line of thought has led me to support more democrats than republicans in my history of participating within the North Carolinian political system. In years past and continuing through today, I recognize that the games some choose to play with our constitutional rights have proven detrimental to our society and unforgiving to those of us who are most vulnerable. I know that malignant forces have recently opted to use scare tactics, useless rhetoric, and a struggling public education system to make it seem as though they've convinced a viable selection of the voting public that they're worthy of support. And that just isn't true.
So today I say to Pat McCrory and the establishment which encourages his voice: Sit down. And shut up.