If history is just, August 2, 2016 will go down in infamy. On that day Pat McCrory cemented his place as the heir to George Wallace. Except if anything McCrory’s pro-bigotry stance is broader.

State politics watchers awoke Tuesday to see McCrory taking a more truculent tack than ever, in support of discrimination. The press was reporting McCrory’s pocket veto of an HB2-litigation funding bill, aligning himself with the haters in a legal battle against bigotry. His embrace of global notoriety for hatred indicates real contempt for the LGBTQ community.

In a news conference later that morning, he trashed Roy Cooper’s stand for Civil Rights. Defining a public servant’s job as discrimination, he blustered that Cooper “should not even receive a paycheck.” That African-Americans also fund Cooper’s paycheck did not  trouble our Trump-minded governor. He then announced plans to crusade for racism at the polls. Apparently he took stock of the 4th Circuit Court’s judgment—that HB 583 was “smoking gun evidence of racial discrimination”—and decided he liked the sound of that.

With these decisions, McCrory has made the campaign a referendum on decency. Given the opportunity to remove them, he chose to keep controversies over minority and LGBTQ rights on the front burner. It is the debate he wants to have: Will we wallow in a swamp of oppression and hatred, or will we rise to a higher plane of respect?

That phrasing is stark. So is the reality. This not a time for euphemism, but a time for choosing.

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