The abuse of power is ultimately the abuse of people. Power without a subservient party is merely a gesture. And so the harnessing of power to ill will is an infliction of harm upon one’s fellow people. When one endowed with authority uses that strength to bad ends, others are dehumanized, exploited, hurt.

The NCGA’s Republican leaders seem to view the rest of us as objects. However they desire to wield their veto-proof strength, we have little choice but to let them have their way. Legislative sessions can be called and cancelled, jerking people in and out of Raleigh. Bills, drafted in secret, can be rammed through and be given the force of law in a matter of hours. We’re fated to drag along behind the remorseless vehicle of Berger’s and Moore’s dominance.

The bubbles in our champagne had hardly popped when NCGOPers made 2018 another episode of abuse. This year isn’t even two weeks old. But they’re already obfuscating about plans for (another) special session. It they haven’t managed to twist quite enough arms. Meantime, we hang in anxious uncertainty over the future of the courts.

This behavior is deeply disrespectful to everyone involved in the political process, from ordinary voters to Berger’s own colleagues. The handful of legislators who aren’t rich or retired, have had to deal with the kind of chaotic schedules usually reserved for fast food workers. Small wonder that many junior legislators are ending their political careers early. Voters, for our part, live with the uncertainty of knowing what’s on the table. Everything rests in private conversations between two men.

All this abuse has an invidious effect on our institutions. Political entities require stability and continuity if they are to facilitate the people’s business. The way Berger and Moore treat them, our institutions are slowly becoming tools of brute force. Republican leaders are warping and weakening the entities future generations will need.

We are a democracy; don’t listen to sloppy, buzzy studies that say otherwise. (Seriously, read the post to which I just linked.) It is not entirely obvious, however, that Berger and Moore appreciate the democratic spirit. We need leaders who see government as a sacred trust, not a personal plaything.

Alexander Jones is an original contributor to PoliticsNC.


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