By State Representative, Leon D. Young
If you follow the news, the Moral Monday protests in North Carolina continue to receive national attention in the media.
The demonstrations began over a year ago and are intended to push lawmakers to roll back some of the laws and policies that demonstrators describe as “attacks” on North Carolina’s poorest and most vulnerable residents.
By way of background, in 2012, North Carolina elected a Republican governor, Pat McCrory, and Republicans were voted into the majority in both state houses by the citizens of North Carolina, giving them control of both the legislative and executive branch for the first time since 1870.
Since taking office, McCrory has signed into law a number of bills promoting conservative governance, and the legislature has passed or considered a number of other laws which have generated controversy.
The bills signed into law by McCrory and proposed legislation have been the target of ongoing “Moral Mondays” civil disobedience protests, organized in part by local religious leaders including William Barber, head of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP.
More specifically, demonstrators are up in arms trying to repeal a myriad of laws and policies passed in 2013 that scaled back unemployment benefits, rejected federal Medicaid expansion, directed more public school money to private school vouchers, suppressed minority voting rights, cut social programs, imposed lavished tax cuts for the rich and placed severe restrictions on abortion rights.
If the aforementioned issues that are spearheading the Moral Monday outbursts in North Carolina sound familiar – well, they should.
In reality, Wisconsin was “ground zero” for the ALEC-driven attacks that punish working-class families and vulnerable Americans that, unfortunately, are being replicated in other states. In 2010, Republican Governor Scott Walker came into office and proceeded to usher in his own draconian agenda, under the guise of declaring that “Wisconsin was open for business.”
A mere four years ago, Wisconsin was experiencing much of the same political turmoil that now grips North Carolina.
Moreover, the remnants of this upheaval are still apparent to anyone that visits the state Capitol.
To illustrate the point, any Monday through Friday, from noon and 1 p.m., the Solidarity Singers assemble in the state Rotunda in order to serenade Scott Walker, and remind EVERYONE of the extremist agenda that has befallen our state.
It’s time to convene a national Moral Monday movement, in order to educate people of the inherent danger in voting against one’s personal interests.