Mike Speciale: Progressive Hero

by | Feb 21, 2017 | Carolina Strategic Analysis, Features, NC House, NC Politics | 5 comments

Rep. Mike Speciale (R-New Bern) is known as a very conservative bombthrower in the General Assembly, but recent events suggest that he is rapidly transitioning into a progressive hero, fighting steadfastly to defend the rights of his countrymen against the ravages of the Trump administration.

Take the three bills he filed today, for instance, all of which would amend the state constitution. They ought to be catnip for progressives.

The first is an amendment that would repeal the literacy requirement for registering to vote. Yes, this vestige of Jim Crow is still enshrined in the state constitution – it’s never been repealed. The targeted section reads like this: “Every person presenting himself for registration shall be able to read and write any section of the Constitution in the English language.” Although not enforced, the provision is arguably a microaggression and it clearly discriminates against North Carolinians who do not speak English. Certainly unexpected, but kudos to Rep. Speciale for taking on this progressive cause.

In Rep. Speciale’s next bill, we see him slyly reveal his anti-Trump (anti-fascist?) sympathies. The second bill would change the wording of Section 5, Article 1 of the state constitution, which currently reads:

“Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion thereof can have any binding force.”

Speciale’s proposed change:

“Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, and now law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion thereof can have any binding force.”

Did you notice the difference? The amendment would remove the words “and government”. Citizens of North Carolina would need only have fidelity to the Constitution – not necessarily the ruling regime. It brings to mind the old phrase: “I love my country, but hate my government.” And who runs the government? Donald Trump and the Republicans. This bill is no doubt a wink and a nod to progressives who are part of the resistance.

And finally, we come to Speciale’s last bill, the one dealing with secession. It’s the one getting all the press coverage. The North Carolina Constitution prohibits secession, reading: “This State shall ever remain a part of the American Union; the people thereof are part of the American nation; there is no right on the part of this State to secede; and all attempts, from whatever source or upon whatever pretext, to dissolve this Union or to sever this Nation, shall be resisted with the whole power of the State.” Speciale wants this section gone.

Naturally, the media has picked this up as an example of typical Republican kookiness; after all, who talks about secession in this day and age? But here again we see Rep. Speciale fighting for progressive values – if you haven’t noticed, secession is a Democratic thing, just as it was in the past. Just look at all the liberals pining for Calexit. Could a North Carolexit be in the future? Speciale at least wants to keep the option on the table – right now, the state’s constitution makes such an effort impossible, even if the U.S. Constitution was amended to allow secession.

Horrifyingly, the secession provision also seems to suggest that North Carolina would be forced to take action if any state attempted to sever its ties to the Union. “… [S]hall be resisted with the whole power of the State.” In the unlikely event that California secedes from the Union, our constitution might demand we take up arms against Californians to force them to live in Donald Trump’s America. Could there be a greater affront to the concept of personal liberty and the right of self-government?

Of course, these being constitutional amendments, they must go before the voters to be approved. And for that to happen, Speciale’s bills will need to pass in both chambers of the General Assembly. But because legislative leaders tend to balk at anything even remotely progressive, expect North Carolinians to be denied the opportunity to vote on these important changes.

It’s a shame, really. Because in this day and age, rare are the conservatives who put principle over party – a party that has been taken over by Trump and Trumpism. As the party continues to purge dissident elements, expect fewer, not more. Meanwhile, is heard the lament from Tar Heel progressives: “If only every Republican was like Mike Speciale.”


  1. D Bair

    After what this creep said about the women’s movement and our historic March, and being called out on it, he continued to clutch his pearls and insult. I would not give this freak the time of day and have made it a mission to alert all women’s pages to him

  2. Keith Thomson

    What a load of horseshit. Not all Republicans are neoconfederates, but almost all neoconfederates are Republicans.

  3. larry

    Dude you really are foolish. Not sure who you think buys what you are selling. I venture to say it is not the majority of the readers of this blog. Why no comment on the folks ….tea party republicans…who plan on killin em some muslims to stop Sharia law.

  4. Troy

    Who talks about secession indeed. Just after the election of Barack Obama in 2012 over 40 states had petitions filed in them, North Carolina included, to secede from the US. Here’s a list of states where residents have filed secession petitions: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

    And no, Speciale isn’t fighting fascism. How naive can anybody be. He’s laying the groundwork for the day that a Constitutional Convention is called. Since at last count we’re only 6 states shy of the 34 it takes, I’d say that its about even odds of that eventuality.

    Yeah, Speciale is a progressive patsy. All we have to figure out is where that fantasy exists.

  5. Esse Quam Videri

    Is it now a standard Republican ploy to equate the Old Democratic Party (ODP) with the current Democratic Party? How disingenuous. Every observer of history knows that the current TeaParty wing of the GOP has more in common with the Dixiecrats of the ODP than today’s Democratic Party. It’s an immature and unworthy gloat for conservative commentators to link the racist past to the Progressive present simply because the wor Democratic is used in both contexts.

Related Posts


Get the latest posts from PoliticsNC delivered right to your inbox!

You have Successfully Subscribed!