Moral Monday protests: Why they matter

by | Jun 2, 2013 | Editor's Blog, NC Politics, NCGA | 14 comments

By all  accounts, tomorrow’s protest at the legislature is going to eclipse the previous three. Caravans are gearing up to drive to Raleigh from areas across the state. Facebook pages are encouraging participation and one has over 700 people saying they plan to attend.

But the protest will have little sway with Republicans in the legislature. They’re certainly not going to slow down the GOP push to enact regressive tax laws, shred the social safety net and privatize as much of government as possible. They’ve got a super-majority and a compliant governor who more resembles a lame-duck than a leader. Besides, the Republicans are as sure that they are right as the protesters are sure that they are not.

So, what are the protests accomplishing? They are filling a void by providing the voice of opposition that Democrats, so far, have failed to offer. They are waking up a sleeping and traditionally apathetic population. And, finally, they are energizing a demoralized base who took a whooping in the last election and have watched the GOP systematically dismantle the progressive policies that made North Carolina a destination for businesses, families and vacationers.

While informed people across the country are asking what’s happening to North Carolina, too many of our own people are going about their lives and routinely ignoring the destruction taking place in the legislature. The protests shine a light on the policies that harm our public schools, deny health care to our most needy and undermine the mission of our public universities. While average North Carolinians may never love the protests or the protesters, they will like the Republican policies even less–as long as they know about them.

Until the protests began, Democrats and progressive activists were reeling with little sense of direction. The protests have given them focus and shared sense of outrage. The trick will be keeping them fired up through the 2014 cycle, but the Republicans’ indifference is motivating them, not discouraging them.

The Tea Party protest movement that began in the summer of 2009 led to the 2010 Republican wave election, the largest in 60 years. The Occupy Wall Street movement changed the national conversation from debt to income inequality. I don’t know what the Moral Monday movement will bring to the future of North Carolina politics but I have a pretty good idea of where we would be now without it.

See you in Raleigh on Monday.



  1. greenjoy

    If the bus to my neighborhood ran later I would’ve hung around Raleigh for this. But it doesn’t. When I’ve a scooter I’ll be there every week. Keep at ’em! #SolarEnergy

  2. C. Marthinson

    I’ll be there Thomas. Thanks for your support.

  3. Jack

    When democrats say “Education”, I know they really mean indoctrination. When they say “Economic Justice”, I know they are really talking about communism and socialism. When they say “Voting Rights”, I know they really mean voter fraud.

    • Pearl

      Jack gets voted off the island!

      • Jack

        Ha ha!!! You need me! I have all the weapons.

    • Charlotte

      I understand your point of view on the education and economic justice points, even though I disagree with you. However, on the voting rights issue, you are way out in left field. There have been lots of investigations into voter fraud, mostly by those who want to justify voter ID laws and other barriers to voting, but even THEY haven’t yet been able to find any evidence whatsoever of any kind of systematic voter fraud.

      • Jack

        Nope, nothing to see here either….

      • Jack

        Charlotte, please pop that bubble that you are living in. Without ID how do poor people use a debit card to buy gas or pick up their prescription from Walgreen’s? You ever go out to get a drink and get carded? You have to prove you are 21, but not to vote. Let’s do background investigations on people who are buying guns, as soon as we do background investigations on voters. In some ways illegal voting is more dangerous than gun ownership. It undermines the legitimacy of our whole system.

        I was in Kenya, working at an orphanage last October. They were registering voters using biometrics. I’ll tell you that there are many more “poor” and disenfranchised voters there, but they did it anyway. So why can’t we do it here?

        • Charlotte

          Jack, I read the articles you linked to (didn’t watch the video because it wouldn’t play for me; otherwise I would have). One of them was about a single individual, and the other would be worrisome if anything actually came of it; it really wasn’t clear from the article. Certainly, he got caught attempting to pull some funny business. Did any votes actually get cast in error? That piece of information was missing, and if I know Fox News reporters, they wouldn’t leave that out.

          I did not say that there was no voter fraud ever, anywhere. I said that there isn’t any evidence of systematic voter fraud. On the other hand, requiring a voter ID would systematically make it impractical for a large number of people to vote, and mostly from a single demographic that is already under-represented.

          Your objections to the difficulty of meeting the requirement for the poor proves that you have never interacted with any of them on a human scale. Many of them simply don’t use a debit card. For anything. Ever. Many don’t have bank accounts. They get their paycheck, and take it to the grocery store to cash it. My dad has been a plant manager for a manufacturing plant for many years, and they save time/money by not printing checks and doing only direct deposit. However, this does mean that they often have to send new employees down the street to set up a bank account, because these people in their 20s, 30s, 40s have never had one.

          Many of the poor don’t have enough money to afford alcohol, making proof of age irrelevant, or their uncle or grandfather or whoever, who is old enough not to get carded anyway, buys it for the household and people chip in.

          As to your point about “if we can do it in Kenya, why can’t we do it here?”… The answer is that we could, if we wanted to, but it would require a lot of money to pay the people we needed to go out and help people get set up. I notice that none of these bills requiring voter ID also include money for any kind of service like that. Some include a service like an office (maybe as much as one per county!) where people who can’t afford an ID can go in (9-4 on weekdays, please) to get one made for free (after a 4 hour wait). If people had the luxury to get across town during business hours and wait for hours for an ID, then they would instead work another couple hours at Burger King (during the time they would be traveling, because that’s how long it realistically takes to ride the bus across town) and wait at the DMV for an ID instead, because it would be far more useful. The mere fact that these people do NOT have a government ID proves that it is impractical, for the very reasons you mentioned. Think how much easier their lives would be if they did have one! But they don’t, because they can’t. If it were laziness, they would have gotten one by now to save themselves a lot of trouble.

          • Jack

            I noticed you did not address the issue of buying medication. Sorry, but I don’t buy your diatribe. When I was a cop in St. Louis, if I asked for ID and none could be produced, I took them to the station to get finger printed.

            LOL!!! Poor people don’t buy alcohol? Yeah, right!

            They only use cash?? Really?? Are EBT cards cash? Are food stamps cash?? If you present a card for payment, you have to have ID. You have to have an ID to set up a bank account, so your whole argument is moot.

            Please, if they can hire workers in Kenya to create and implement voter ID, we can do it here. We have the richest poor people in the world. Many of our “poorest” have phones and cable TV.

            Sorry, but the whole disenfranchised voter thing is a ploy from the left to keep voter fraud alive. Who’s running the Justice Department? If you don’t conduct an investigation, you won’t find any evidence.

    • frank

      i love it when tea partiers talk.

  4. James

    Well said.

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