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Checking the Boxes

Those of us who live in the Triangle are accustomed to hearing every month or so that our fair cities are in the Top 10 for some silly accolade, no-doubt dreamed up by a business magazine writer who needs to sell more magazines. For example, we are the Best Place for Business and Careers according to Forbes, #2 Next Big Boom Town according to Forbes, and the #3 Best Labor Market for Young Adults according to BizJournals. It gets old, and we're all kinda over it.

Yes, we are jaded.check-list.gif

But North Carolina appeared this weekend on another "Top 10" list. And no, it wasn't Letterman.  No, according to the good folks at AlterNet, NC is among The 10 Craziest State Legislatures In America.  Can you just feel your pride swelling?

This dubious distinction comes right on the heels of North Carolina being listed not once, not twice, but three times on the top 14 list of The Worst Bills of 2011 by the Progressive States Network. When I speak to colleagues in other states, the well-meaning, yet incredibly depressing, phrase that comes up most often is "Well, at least you're in North Carolina."

Sigh. Yes, at least we have that.

Unfortunately, all of this press is apparently not enough for the majority leaders in the NC House, as Thom Tillis was quoted this weekend as saying there will be votes held this week over-ride more of the Governor's 14 vetoes, including the voter suppression bill and the abortion restriction bill.

Rep. Ruth Samuelson said that leaders are willing to risk a loss on the voter ID bill, they're ready to wait for the right moment to get the right vote on others. In her words, "If the numbers aren't there, you wait until they are," she said. "Somebody might have a change of heart."

Ruth, we are dealing with enough numbers here, ok?

Personally, I've had it. I'm tired, beaten, and I'm not above begging. So Thom, Ruth, and everyone else... I'm literally begging here.  You have transformed us from an up-and-coming powerhouse in progressive legislation to being only slightly more progressive than our absolutely crazy southern neighbor in less than a year. You have gutted social programs, slashed education funding, and effectively changed the course of our state for years to come. Add to that the new voter maps that will erase at least half a dozen more democrats from competitive districts, and it's pretty clear you have what you came for. Please, please, please... leave us a shred of dignity and just go home.

The irony, of course, is it has been the progressive policies of the past 20 years that have causes us to make so many of the smart decisions that has resulted in the tremendous growth the state as seen while other states have faltered. But as my mother was fond of saying, "It takes years to build a reputation, but only a second to loose it."

Consider us lost.