The circus came to the State Capitol this week, complete with clowns, a carnival barker and a sideshow. The “Reverend” Barber was decked out like a prelate of the Church of Rome (no insult is meant to Catholics), complete with stole and cassock. All he was missing was a miter and the ensemble would have been complete.
Several hundred people – mostly white, angry, aged former hippies – appeared and screeched into microphones, talked about solidarity and chanted diatribes. It was “liberal theater” at its best. Just like having a honey bun and double espresso for breakfast, the impact of it all left the participants jittery and empty in the end.
Never short on audacity, the Loony Left actually named their gathering “Moral Monday.” Between the screaming, foot stomping and disjointed speeches, it appeared more like “Moron Monday.” The gathering was supposed to influence legislators. However, no one thought to bring out any senate or house member from either party.
The gathering was a field day for the Raleigh press corps who came out in large numbers for the extravaganza. In a carefully orchestrated parade, photographers and videographers walked backwards as Barber and his minions strolled into an empty General Assembly Building to voice more complaints and engage in several rounds of sing-along. Even more press showed up to document the standard-bearers of liberalism who were politely arrested by General Assembly Police and escorted away well before session started. These “brave souls” can now claim hero status for all the courage they showed by standing up against the Radical Right.
Where were the protesters when the Democrats were bankrupting North Carolina? Just three years ago, North Carolina was in a deep crisis. The treasury was empty, with a multi-billion-dollar deficit. The state health care plan was bankrupt. The state retirement plan was underfunded by hundreds of millions of dollars. A multi-billion-dollar debt was owed to the federal government for money loaned to the state during the Great Recession for unemployment benefits. On top of everything, before getting roundly kicked out by the voters, Democrat leaders managed to raise North Carolina’s taxes to the highest in the Southeast, borrowing every dollar possible.
For over 140 years, Democrats had an almost total lock on power in Raleigh. It was not until the 2010 elections that the GOP had ever controlled both chambers in the General Assembly. Even then, they had to contend with Democrat Gov. Beverly Perdue who fought every commonsense reform brought forward. The Republicans finally consolidated their power with overwhelming wins in the 2012 election season where they took the Governor’s office, as well as many more seats in the N.C. House and Senate.
Once ensconced in power, the pro-growth, commonsense Republicans went to work like the business people they were. Government waste was cut, a billion-dollar tax cut was enacted and the budget was balanced. The state’s retirement plan was fully funded and the state health plan was made solvent. A responsible repayment schedule was arranged with the federal government to pay off the unemployment debt in record time. In other words, the sinking ship of this state was righted.
You might be wondering, “What is the left complaining about?” A better question is “What are they not complaining about?” Apparently, even in the light of the overwhelming GOP election victories, they believe that Republicans had no mandate to fix what the Democrats broke. Somehow, the new leadership is supposed to print money on a magical press and spend our way into prosperity.
Even Democrat pollsters say these protests are hurting their party and its long-term plan to recover power. Regular people, i.e. voters, tend to shy away from the real radical fringe. Nonetheless, the old hippies have found a new hobby and have once again fallen in love with the sound of their own voices. Too bad they were not around to help when they were needed.
Thom Goolsby is a state senator, practicing attorney and law professor. He is a chairman of the Senate Judiciary 1 and Justice and Public Safety committees.