It’s been a couple of months since I posted here, but today I will post twice.
I’ve been busy with good things. As probably all of my readers know, North Carolina has become a political horror show and a national joke. For the first time since 1870 Republicans control both houses of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion. In 1870 the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln ad they won then because of Reconstruction. Democrats ruled the state while they were the conservative party in the South and within the Democratic Party nationally. A diverse population with a large manufacturing economic sector and therefore a lot of liberal voters.
What has happened now is probably a bump in the road but it is a very big one. Arthur Pope, a billionaire who ought to be considered the third Koch brother, financed almost two dozen state legislator campaigns and the governor’s campaign. The new governor put him in charge of the state budget and the legislature churned out 1700 pieces of legislation in the space of three months. Almost all of this was regressive and harmful. It includes an unfair tax system, restriction of voter rights, and major cuts to education (which they somehow say is beneficial for education). The state’s chapter of NAACP began a series of rallies called Moral Mondays in the state capital every week while the legislature met. My health would not allow me to make that trip, but there was plenty to do right here in Western North Carolina (WNC).
I have spoken twice to a group of local social change organizations on nonviolence. I attended the local Moral Monday (the rallies are going from city to city in the state on Mondays) which drew a crowd of 10,000 (and that is the police estimate).
I also lectured twice at a local church and led Shabbat services at a curch and synagogue librarians conference in Lake Junaluska. Most time and energy consuming of all was a panel program I was asked to organize by an interfaith group I am active in. The panel was on church-state issues and was intended as informational rather than advocacy. There was a speaker on the issues from Americans United for Separation of Church and State and four responding panelists: a Protrestant minister, a conservative lawyer, a rabbi, and a liberal local politician. I served as moderator. It took a lot of effort to put the program together and publicize it (I had help). There were at least 150 people attending and they represented a full spectrum of opinion.
All of this was very exciting but I am glad to have a period of time with little to prepare for. Although I will be presenting at a Curmudgeon’s program about a month from now on the subject of poverty.
I will create another post for today based on a discussion of this month’s Curmudgeon’s meeting which was on economic issues.